The Malice Domestic Conference has announced this year's finalists for the Agatha Awards (for traditional mysteries, named for Agatha Christie). Have you read any of the nominated books? What do you think of them?

From http://www.malicedomestic.org/agathaawards.html#a2011 :

2011

Best Novel:
The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)
The Diva Haunts the House by Krista Davis (Berkley)
Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur)
Three-Day Town by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best First Novel:
Dire Threads by Janet Bolin (Berkley)
Choke by Kaye George (Mainly Murder Press)
Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry (Crown)
Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab (Berkley)
Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend (Berkley)

Best Non-fiction:
Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz (Linden)
Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks by John Curran (Harper)
On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda (Princeton University Press)
Wilkie Collins, Vera Caspary and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel by A. B. Emrys (McFarland)
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris (Ace)

Best Short Story:
"Disarming" by Dana Cameron, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - June 2011
"Dead Eye Gravy" by Krista Davis, Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology (Wildside Press)
"Palace by the Lake" by Daryl Wood Gerber, Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology (Wildside Press)
"Truth and Consequences" by Barb Goffman, Mystery Times Ten (Buddhapuss Ink)
"The Itinerary" by Roberta Isleib, MWA Presents the Rich and the Dead (Grand Central Publishing)

Best Children's/Young Adult:
Shelter by Harlan Coben (Putnam)
The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby (Scholastic Press)
The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey (EgmontUSA)
The Code Busters Club, Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key by Penny Warner (EgmontUSA)

Best Historical Novel:
Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Murder Your Darlings by J.J. Murphy (Signet)
Mercury's Rise by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press)
Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson (Minotaur)
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper)

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Sorry, no. Can't help.

I see many fine writers, but those are NOT the kind of book titles that interest me. In fact, I think they are designed to put me (men?) off.

Jack, I like Louise Penny's novels, but I know what you mean. Take a look at this picture:

http://www.quillandquire.com/blog/index.php/2011/09/26/event-photo-...

It's dawned on me that I no longer read a lot of mainstream crime fiction. I'm not trying to brag about it like some hipster d-bag. It's just that I enjoy reading works from authors I have relationships with online - or who at least are accessible.

Main stream?  Probably not.  Rather heavy on cozies, I'd say.  I have problems with Penny, whose plots seem over the top and badly researched to me -- this is based on a single partially read novel about a hermit with an art collection that has Nazi connections. I can't speak to her other books and haven't read any of the other authors.  Still, clearly they are enormously popular.  The Agatha is a popularity contest.

The Agatha award is *for* cozies.  That's why these are cozies.  I'm hoping that the nomination of a book from my small publisher (Mainly Murder Press) might draw attention to them and then to my book.  Although my book is most definitely not cozy. 

There you are then.  My books are also most definitely not cozy, but they draw some of the same readers.  Still, given the niche subject, they'll never make the Agathas.

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