Well, it was a race to see who could get the names of tonight’s Edgar Award recipients into the public arena the fastest. The first clues, telegraphic as they were, leaked out through Sarah Weinman’s Twitter page (despite her reluctance to subvert the Mystery Writers of America’s ridiculous prohibition on live-blogging during the Edgars banquet). George Easter at Deadly Pleasures magazine had promised to be first out with the results, but he couldn’t beat Brian Thornton, head of the MWA’s Northwest Chapter, to the punch. By 7:12 p.m. PST, Thornton had a list of the winners up at Crimespace. Easter had the official announcement a few minutes later.
Without further ado, then, this year’s Edgars go to ...
Best Novel: The Janissary Tree, by Jason Goodwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Also nominated: The Pale Blue Eye, by Louis Bayard (HarperCollins); Gentleman & Players, by Joanne Harris (William Morrow); The Dead Hour, by Denise Mina (Little, Brown and Company); The Virgin of Small Plains, by Nancy Pickard (Ballantine Books); and Liberation Movements, by Olen Steinhauer (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
Best First Novel by an American Author: The Faithful Spy, by Alex Berenson (Random House)
Also nominated: Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn (Shaye Areheart Books); King of Lies, by John Hart (St. Martin’s Minotaur); Holmes on the Range, by Steve Hockensmith (St. Martin’s Minotaur); and A Field of Darkness, by Cornelia Read (The Mysterious Press)
Best Paperback Original: Snakeskin Shamisen, by Naomi Hirahara (Delta Books)
Also nominated: The Goodbye Kiss, by Massimo Carlotto; translated by Lawrence Venuti (Europa Editions); The Open Curtain, by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press); The Deep Blue Alibi, by Paul Levine (Bantam Books); and City of Tiny Lights, by Patrick Neate (Riverhead Books)
Best Fact Crime: Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, by James L. Swanson (William Morrow)
Also nominated: Strange Piece of Paradise, by Terri Jentz (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); A Death in Belmont, by Sebastian Junger (Norton); Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine, by Capt. Joseph K. Loughlin and Kate Clark Flora (University Press of New England); Ripperology: A Study of the World’s First Serial Killer, by Robin Odell (The Kent State University Press); and The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe and the Invention of Murder, by Daniel Stashower (Dutton)
Best Critical/Biographical: The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, by E.J. Wagner (John Wiley & Sons)
Also nominated: Unless the Threat of Death Is Behind Them: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Film Noir, by John T. Irwin (Johns Hopkins University Press)
Best Short Story: “The Home Front,” by Charles Ardai (in Death Do Us Part, edited by Harlan Coben; Little, Brown and Company)
Also nominated: “Rain,” by Thomas H. Cook (in Manhattan Noir, edited by Lawrence Block; Akashic Books); “Cranked,” by Bill Crider (in Damn Near Dead, edited by Duane Swierczynski; Busted Flush Press); and “Building,” by S.J. Rozan (also in Manhattan Noir)
Best Juvenile: Room One: A Mystery or Two, by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster)
Also nominated: Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake, by Jennifer Allison (Sleuth/Dutton); The Stolen Sapphire, by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl Publishing); The Bloodwater Mysteries: Snatched, by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue (Sleuth/Putnam); and The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery, by Nancy Springer (Philomel/Sleuth)
Best Young Adult: Buried, by Robin Merrow MacCready (Dutton Children’s Books)
Also nominated: The Road of the Dead, by Kevin Brooks (The Chicken House); The Christopher Killer, by Alane Ferguson (Sleuth/Viking); Crunch Time, by Mariah Fredericks (Richard Jackson Books/Atheneum); and The Night My Sister Went Missing, by Carol Plum-Ucci (Harcourt Children’s Books)
Best Play: Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, by Steven Dietz (Arizona Theatre Company)
Also nominated: Curtains, by Rupert Holmes (Ahmanson Theatre); and Ghosts of Ocean House, by Michael Kimball (The Players’ Ring)
Best Television Episode Teleplay: Life on Mars, Episode 1, teleplay by Matthew Graham (BBC America)
Also nominated: The Closer: “Blue Blood,” teleplay by James Duff and Mike Berchem (Turner Network Television); Dexter: “Crocodile,” teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime); House: “Clueless,” teleplay by Thomas L. Moran (Fox/NBC Universal); and Monk: “Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink,” teleplay by Hy Conrad (USA Network/NBC Universal)
Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay: The Wire, Season 4, teleplays by Ed Burns, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi (HBO)
Also nominated: Conviction, teleplay by Bill Gallagher (BBC America); Cracker: A New Terror, teleplay by Jimmy McGovern (BBC America); Messiah: The Harrowing, teleplay by Terry Cafolla (BBC America); and Secret Smile, teleplay by Kate Brooke, based on the book by Nicci French (BBC America)
Best Motion Picture Screenplay: The Departed, screenplay by William Monahan (Warner Bros.)
Also nominated: Casino Royale, screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, based on a novel by Ian Fleming (MGM); Children of Men, screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, based on a novel by P.D. James (Universal); The Good Shepherd, teleplay by Eric Roth (Universal); and Notes on a Scandal, screenplay by Patrick Marber (Scott Rudin Productions)
Dylan Schaffer, who was one of the Best Novel judges this year, had hinted a few hours before these announcements were made that “given how we came out [on the choices], there may well be something to talk about.” Indeed, for I’d expected either Bayard’s The Pale Blue Eye or Nancy Pickard’s The Virgin of Small Plains to walk away with Best Novel honors. And I would’ve bet real money--maybe a lot of it--that Cornelia Read would be victorious in the Best First Novel by an American Author category for her work, A Field of Darkness. Which just goes to show the wisdom behind my not ever gambling for money ...
READ MORE: “The Edgars in Bulletpoints,” by Sarah Weinman (Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind); “The Edgar Banquet” (Dave White’s Writing Block).