The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday titled "Mystery Rules at Edgar Awards" by Alexandra Alter in which she said the winners of last night's Edgars need to enjoy the awards because they would not likely see another Edgar:
The group has doled out awards to crime and mystery novelists since 1946, but few writers collect multiple awards in major categories during the course of their careers. A perusal of the group's online database found little overlap between debut authors who have won best first novel ... and seasoned mystery writers who have won best novel ... Only one winner in the debut novelist category has gone on to win best novel.That one mystery writer was Ross Thomas, who won Best First Novel in 1967 and then won Best Novel eighteen years later in 1985.
Alter blames the MWA's own rules for this contradiction. She says the First Novel prize is only awarded to American authors while the Best Novel is an international category.
She also points out that all of the last year's nominess together only sold 79,000 copies of their nominated novels according to Nielsen Bookscan. She says mystery and crime fiction has fallen in popularity over the past five years while thrillers have risen in popularity.
While I agree that the thriller has overtaken and bypassed the pure mystery, I would contend that the same holds true for romantic suspense, which also is a strong seller these days.
So I would argue that mystery lives on ... just in other forms.
Go here to read the WSJ article.
Here are last night's winners:
Best Novel: The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
Best First Novel by an American Author: In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)
Best Paperback Original: Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press - Castle Street Mysteries)
Best Critical/Biographical: The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown and Company)
Best Fact Crime: Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group - Twelve)
Best Short Story: "Amapola" - Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)
Best Young Adult: Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children's Books - HarperTeen)
Best Juvenile: Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books)
Best Television Episode Teleplay: "Place of Execution," Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)
Congratulations to all.