by Paula Gail Benson
For the past two years, the community that gathers for Malice Domestic has missed its annual reunion. From Wednesday through Saturday, the Malice board organized and presented a series of online panels and interviews that helped those of us missing the in-person event to feel as if we reconnected virtually.
More Than Malice ended on Saturday with the announcement of the Agatha awards. The teapots for the past two years will be awarded when we’re all together again, but in the meantime, today and tomorrow on Writers Who Kill, I wanted to recognize the Agatha nominees for Best First Novel and Best Short Story. They are a wonderful group of writers. If you haven’t discovered them yet, please consider reading their work.
Here are the Agatha nominees for Best First Novel (award noted by **):
2019 Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel
Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur Books)
When It’s Time
by Ang Pompano (Thimble Island Press, 2nd edition)
by Grace Topping (Henery Press)
Connie Berry is one of my blogging partners at Writers Who Kill. Her first Kate Hamilton novel was nominated for an Agatha. A Dream of Death also was a finalist for the Silver Falchion and won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery. Since then, two additional books in the series have been released, A Legacy of Murder (October 2019) and The Art of Betrayal (June 2021). The Shadow of Memory is the next Kate Hamilton adventure.
Tara Laskowski’s first novel One Night Gone, not only won the Agatha, but also the Macavity and Anthony awards and was a finalist for the Lefty, the Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark, the Strand Critics, and the Library of VA Literary awards. Her second novel, The Mother Next Door, will be published in October 2021. She, her husband Art Taylor, and son Dash will be guests of honor at Murder in the Magic City in February 2022.
2020 Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel
A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison (Crooked Lane Books)
Winter Witness by Tina
deBellegarde (Level Best Books)
Derailed by Mary
Keliikoa (Epicenter Press, Inc.)
**Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington)
Murder Most Sweet by
Laura Jensen Walker (Crooked Lane Books)
Tina deBellegarde has written short stories and flash fiction. Her first novel, Winter Witness, begins the Batavia-on-Hudson series. She lives with her husband and cat Shelby in the Catskills where she tends bees and harvests shiitakes and vegetables.
Mary Keliikoa’s Derailed, the first in her PI Kelly Pruett books, has been nominated for the Lefty as well as the Agatha. Denied is the second book in the series. She also writes the Mystery Pines mysteries, the first book, Hidden Pieces, will be coming out in September 2022. Her experience as a legal secretary led her to write mysteries.
|Erica Ruth Neubauer
Erica Ruth Neubauer’s Murder at the Mena House, the first of the Jane Wunderly mysteries, received the Agatha for best first novel. The second in the series, Murder at Wedgefield Manor, was released in March 2021. Erica lives with her husband in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has worked in the military, law enforcement, as a teacher, and as a reviewer.
|Laura Jensen Walker