Agatha Awards
2015 (Best Contemporary)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Margaret Maron

Book list In the twentieth entry in her series featuring Deborah Knott (after Designated Daughters, 2014), Maron proves as adept as ever at melding a central mystery with an involving family story. When Deborah's father, Kezzie, stumbles on a dead body located on the furthest reaches of his North Carolina farm, Deborah's husband, Deputy Dwight Bryant, is tasked with finding out who beat the man to death. It turns out, however, that the victim has long had it out for Kezzie Knott, believing that Kezzie swindled his family out of their land, and the local newspaper implies that the Knotts might be behind the crime and receiving favorable treatment due to their connections with the sheriff's office. Interspersed with the investigation are chapters detailing the charming backstory of Kezzie's courtship of Deborah's mother, revealing how the college-educated daughter of a wealthy town family got involved with a grizzled old bootlegger from the country. Maron emphasizes the close relationships of Deborah's extended family and the way their rural lifestyle connects them to the land, which makes for an especially heartwarming read.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Maron's 20th Deborah Knott mystery (after 2014's Designated Daughters) combines strong plotting, a superb cast of recurring characters, and a rare sense of place that transports readers to rural North Carolina. District court judge Deborah and the huge Knott clan headed by Deborah's father, reformed bootlegger Kezzie Knott, become involved in a murder investigation when Kezzie finds Vick Earp bludgeoned to death on the family farm. Vick and his Earp relatives have had an ongoing feud with the Knotts. When Deborah's lawman husband, Dwight Bryant, is appointed lead investigator, the victim's uncle, Joby Earp, is quick to stir up charges of favoritism. Providing counterpoint to the murder case is the backstory of Deborah's mother, Sue Stephenson, and Sue's relationship with the mysterious Capt. Walter Raynesford McIntyre, of the U.S. Army Air Corps, whom she meets in 1943 at a USO club. It all adds up to another sparkling chapter of the Knott family saga. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Aug.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Maron's newest entry in her long-running "Judge Knott" series (Designated Daughters) begins with Deborah's father, Kezzie, finding a man beaten to death on his land. The judge's husband, who is second in command at the sheriff's department, investigates and discovers that Kezzie had a history with the victim, Vick Earp, that goes back to moonshining days. Deborah starts digging around to learn more about her parents. VERDICT Sprinkled with the low-country vernacular and the wonderful characters of Colleton County, NC, this title is a worthy addition to Maron's series. Readers of Southern mysteries will find much to adore. [See Prepub Alert, 2/23/15.]-Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., -Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More
2015 (Best Historical)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Laurie R. King
2015 (Best First)
 
2015 (Best Nonfiction)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Martin Edwards
2015 (Best Childrens)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Amanda Flower
2014 (Best Contemporary)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Publishers Weekly Ryan's smart, well-paced third Jane Ryland novel (after 2013's The Wrong Girl) takes aim at the housing crisis of recent years. Boston Register reporter Jane Ryland is at work on two stories: an apparent murder in a recently foreclosed house and a supposed puff piece about banking customer service. Both assignments lead straight to revelations of institutional financial malfeasance and possibly more death. Meanwhile, Det. Jake Brogan of the Boston PD receives the solution to a 20-year-old cold case-or has he been handed an inexplicable false confession? Ryan, a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner, cleverly ties the plot together, offers surprising but believable plot twists, and skillfully characterizes the supporting case, which includes a widower attorney, a bleeding heart banker, and an expectant mother who might be married to a murderer. She also provides just the right amount of romance between Jane and Jake, with a delectable hint that Jake might have some competition. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Starred Review. Boston's Register news reporter Jane Ryland is covering a human interest foreclosure story when she stumbles onto several murders committed in recently foreclosed homes. Investigating further, Jane becomes entangled in one dangerous situation after another. In the meantime, the reporter's clandestine love interest, Boston police detective Jake Brogan, is actively pursuing answers to a 20-year-old unsolved murder. The cold case turns personal as Jake consults case files written by his deceased grandfather, a former police commissioner, to determine if the individual confessing to the crime is truly the killer. As Jane and Jake each gets closer to the truth, they find their lives and their romantic connection precariously hanging in the balance. Danger and intrigue surround them both as they desperately seek closure. VERDICT The third entry in the "Jane Ryland & Jake Brogan" series (The Other Woman; The Wrong Girl) packs a powerful punch, and offers a clever mix of mystery, corruption, and romance. Mystery enthusiasts will want to drop everything and binge-read until the mind-boggling conclusion. [See Prepub Alert, 4/21/14.]-Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* A prominent cold case is back in play. Women are being murdered in empty houses that have been foreclosed, and reporter Jane Ryland and Boston PD detective Jake Brogan are wondering if their relationship, right at the edge of ethical, in his view, can ever work. When a recent parolee confesses to a 20-year-old unsolved murder that bedevils Brogan as it haunted his late police-commissioner grandfather, Brogan's colleagues accept the confession as valid, but Brogan is dubious. Working both old and new cases, Brogan continually runs into Ryland, who's on assignment with Peter Hardesty, a widowed lawyer who's attracted to Ryland and arousing Brogan's jealousy. At the heart of it all are foreclosures, which are being manipulated by a cabal of bank employees for personal gain as well as by new customer-services bank officer Liz McDivitt, who's playing Robin Hood. In the third entry in this award-winning series, investigative reporter Ryan again takes on a social issue the harm to individuals caused by bank foreclosures and puts it at the center of a fast-moving procedural with a strong journalistic bent. In Ryan's adroit hands, with her brisk prose, appealing protagonists, and well-limned characters, even foreclosures can be sexy.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More
 
2014 (Best Historical)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Rhys Bowen

Book list It's the Depression, but not for the titled nobility in England or for movie moguls in Hollywood. Despite being thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie Rannoch, called Georgie, depends on the hospitality of others while she waits for her true love, adventurer Darcy O'Mara, to make enough money so they can marry. She is delighted when her mother, actress Claire Daniels, sweeps in to take her on a transatlantic cruise to New York and on to Las Vegas, where Claire will seek a divorce. Making the acquaintance of shipmate and movie mogul Cy Goldman, Claire and Georgie add Hollywood to their itinerary. But there are shadows over their trip. Georgie thinks she saw a body thrown overboard, Darcy shows up in pursuit of a jewel thief, and, to cap it off, while hosting a weekend house party at his secluded castle, Goldman is found murdered. Bowen moves the classic country-house mystery to a glitzy California castle, portrays real and Hollywood-made celebrities, and adds romance in an engagingly madcap adventure.--Muller, Karen Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Bowen's eighth Royal Spyness mystery (after 2013's Heirs and Graces) is a showcase for the series' many strengths. The year 1934 finds Lady Georgiana Rannoch, an impoverished cousin of George V, adrift, with nothing particular to do in the Kent countryside. The arrival of her scandalous actress mother, Claire Daniels, lifts her out of the doldrums. In need of a quickie divorce in Nevada, Claire invites her daughter to join her on a trip to America. Georgie and her anti-Jeeves of a maid, the hapless Queenie, set sail on the Berengaria, aboard which they become involved in the search for a legendary jewel thief. This quest involves a murder investigation once the ocean liner lands in the U.S. Fans of P.G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing will be quite pleased (e.g., when a passenger asks the Berengaria's captain, "Do ships like this sink very often?," he dryly responds, "Only once"). Agent: Meg Ruley, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In her latest adventure (after Heirs and Graces), Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, agrees to accompany her many-times-married mother from Britain to Reno, so that her mother can sign a quick divorce in order to proceed directly to another upcoming nuptial. The tides turn as Georgie's mother meets movie producer Cy Goldman on the ship and is swept away by the promise of a lead part in his new film. The tale quickly turns to tragedy when Cy is murdered and Georgie must step into the role of sleuth once again to discover not only the killer but a suspected jewel thief as well. VERDICT Georgie's effervescent spirit and Bowen's prose are light as air, adding pizzazz to an already amusing and intriguing 1930s-era mystery. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More
2014 (Best First)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Rhys Bowen
2014 (Best Nonfiction)
 
2014 (Best Childrens / Young Adult)
2013 (Best Contempory)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Library Journal Ryan's stellar follow-up to The Other Woman throws Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland into a strange mystery. She hears the story of a former colleague, adopted as an infant, who used information provided by her adoption agency to find her birth mother, only to discover that the woman was not, in fact, her real mom. An investigation hints at a possible conspiracy with children reunited with the wrong parents. As this unfolds, a domestic violence case haunts Det. Jake Brogan. And though there is a crib at the crime scene, where is the baby? VERDICT Jane and Jake are engaging protagonists, and the will-they-or-won't-they tension will appeal to romance fans. The thrills are also abundant, and the plot takes a left turn when the reader is sure it's going right. Ryan has a gift for writing superb thrillers, and this one is sure to be a big hit with her growing fan base. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/13.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly A strong theme compensates for a heavy reliance on coincidence in Ryan's sequel to 2012's The Other Woman, a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner. Tucker Cameron, a former colleague of reporter Jane Ryland's at the Register, a Boston newspaper, asks for Jane's help in determining how a private adoption agency, Brannigan Family and Children Services, managed to "reunite" her with the wrong birth mother. Meanwhile, an anonymous phone call leads Det. Jake Brogan and his partner, Det. Paul DeLuca, to a Roslindale apartment, where they find the body of a woman who's suffered a fatal blow to the head, but no murder weapon accompanying it. Jane's editor assigns her to cover the killing, setting the stage for a complex investigation. Ryan does a good job portraying the foster care and adoption systems, their shortcomings, abuses, and overpowering demands. Intriguing secondary characters, including an idealistic worker at Brannigan, support the well-matched Jane and Jake, whose romance continues to smolder. Author tour. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Reporter Jane Ryland is on the trail of something big enough to ensure her continued employment on the downsizing Boston Republic when an anonymous threatening phone call makes her editor pull her off the story. Sidelined, she takes time to help former colleague Tuck Cameron, an adoptee just paired with her birth mother, who is distressed that the private Brannigan adoption agency that placed her made a mistake and that she's the wrong girl. Jane still continues to ferret out angles of the story of an unidentified woman killed in a house with two young toddlers present and evidence of a missing baby, a case being worked by her not-quite-lover Detective Jake Brogan. As Jake tries to avoid Jane on the job, he also has to deal with a case involving two top Brannigan administrators found dead days apart under questionable conditions. Investigative television reporter Ryan fulfills the promise of her first Jane Ryland mystery, The Other Woman (2012), as she blends a social issue the cost to young children of an overworked and underfunded foster care system into a crisp, fast-moving police procedural featuring reverberating illegalities, increasing danger and suspense, and crackling sexual tension between Ryland and Brogan. Another winner from Ryan.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More
2013 (Best Historical)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Charles Todd

Library Journal When Bess learns that an earlier crime committed in India involves her father, she must grapple with disturbing truths. Number five in this series (after the award-winning An Unmarked Grave) for the mother/son writing duo. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Todd (the pseudonym of a mother-and-son writing team) once again demonstrates his talent at depicting the horrors of war in his excellent fifth mystery featuring English nurse Bess Crawford (after 2012's An Unmarked Grave). As the carnage of WWI finally nears its end, Bess finds herself investigating murders committed a decade earlier on two different continents. In 1908, Bess was living in India with her parents when a member of her father's regiment, Lt. Thomas Wade, came under suspicion of killing his parents. But before he could be apprehended, Wade vanished near the Khyber Pass. Although no body was recovered, he was presumed dead. While Bess is serving in France in 1918, the last words of a dying soldier persuade her that Wade might have survived. Her innate curiosity and knowledge of how traumatizing the scandal was to her father lead her to again play sleuth. In the process, she also examines the triple murder of an entire family that Wade may have committed in England before leaving for India. The extremely clever plot builds to a satisfying resolution. Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list A battlefield nurse familiar with the horrors of trench warfare, Sister Bess Crawford is tirelessly competent, stubborn, and endlessly in motion, though perpetually exhausted. Lieutenant Wade, previously with Bess' father's regiment, reputedly killed five civilians in India and two in England and was presumed killed while attempting to flee. Wade was therefore never brought to justice, casting a pall over regimental honor. Now, years later, Bess bumps into him on the battlefield before he disappears again, and in her moral indignation she sets off in search of an explanation. While on leave, Bess takes shameless advantage of her friend Simon, forcing him to drive her around as she vets shifty and suspicious characters connected to Wade's childhood and leaves a trail of deadly consequences in her wake. Despite this flitting about, suspense is lacking in this heavily interpretive fifth installment in the series, though series fans will enjoy another adventure of the intrepid and endlessly curious Bess a heroine whose intuition rivals tht of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs but whose spunk doesn't quite match that of Anne Perry's Hester Latterly.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More
 
2013 (Best First)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Leslie Budewitz
2013 (Best Nonfiction)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Daniel Stashower

Book list *Starred Review* Some of President Lincoln's associates and some historians have questioned if the supposed conspiracy to assassinate him upon his arrival in Baltimore was serious. Stashower has no doubt that the plot was real, and he has written a convincing and well-researched chronicle of it and the successful effort to thwart it. His story has the necessary elements of a successful historical thriller, including a determined assassin; a wily, intrepid detective; a serpentine plot; and, in Lincoln, an important and sympathetic potential victim. Stashower seems determined to lay out the painstaking details of the plot; although it provides credibility, it sometimes acts as a drag on the narrative. Still, the stakes are high, so the story has a built-in urgency and excitement. The detective, the soon-to-be-famous Allan Pinkerton, is a relentless and clever sleuth, and the chief conspirator, a Baltimore barber named Ferrandini, is a formidable adversary. Despite some slow moments, the book generally succeeds as both a historical inquiry and a detective story.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly John Wilkes Booth succeeded in 1865, but the first major plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln unfolded in 1861 in anticipation of the then president-elect's railway trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) explains how Allan Pinkerton, a temperamental Scottish cooper turned "fierce and incorruptible lawman" and founder of the Pinkerton Agency, sought to infiltrate and obfuscate a murderous group led by Cypriano Ferrandini, an outspoken Italian barber in Baltimore. Interwoven with the tale of Pinkerton and company's efforts to foil what would become known as the Baltimore Plot, Stashower offers a rich portrait of a resolute but weary Lincoln as he makes his way, both politically and physically, to the White House. As everyone knows, he arrived without incident, but while he saved his skin, he lost some respect for stealing into the capital "like a thief in the night," as one newspaper put it. The book starts out slow, but once Stashower lets the Pinkerton operatives loose, their race against time as Lincoln's train speeds toward Maryland makes for an enthralling page-turner that is sure to please true crime, thriller, and history fans. Photos. (Feb.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The first known attempt to murder Abraham Lincoln occurred in February 1861 during his railway journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC, for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) details how Allan Pinkerton, head of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, managed to stop a band of rebels bent on killing the president-elect in Baltimore. Stashower describes a campaign-weary, nonchalant, and somewhat incautious Abraham Lincoln, traveling east toward the presidency. The author records him arriving safely in DC after stealing through Maryland's darkened countryside and Baltimore's precincts as "a thief in the night"-at Pinkerton's behest, but in the process forfeiting a measure of political stature to his detractors, who questioned his courage and fitness for office. The tale builds methodically before shifting into dramatic mode as Pinkerton, in fewer than two weeks, uncovers and quashes the would-be assassins' designs, assisted by agent Kate Warne, the leader of Pinkerton's female undercover unit. VERDICT Stashower's character-driven narrative and lively writing style reveal the finely honed skills of an accomplished mystery writer. Recommended.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More
2013 (Best Childrens / Young Adult)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Chris Grabenstein

Publishers Weekly Librarians and English teachers will happily recommend this adventurous romp from Grabenstein (the Riley Mack books), which pays playful homage to books and libraries while engaging readers in a fast-paced competition involving research and reasoning skills. Twelve seventh-graders win a chance to spend an overnight lock-in previewing their town's new public library-it's a marvel of technological delights conceived by Luigi Lemoncello, the Willy Wonkalike founder of Mr. Lemoncello's Imagination Factory, which is a source for every kind of game imaginable. During the lock-in the winners, who include game-lover Kyle Keeley and a group of multicultural classmates with a mix of aptitudes and interests, are offered a further challenge: "Find your way out of the library using only what's in the library." The winner will become spokesperson for the Imag-ination Factory. Book lovers will relish the lavish sprinkling of book titles and references while puzzle fans will enjoy figuring out the clues. A lighthearted parody of reality survival shows, the book reinvigorates the debate over the Dewey Decimal system and traditional library skills while celebrating teamwork, perseverance, and clever wits. Ages 9-12. Agent: Eric Myers, the Spieler Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

...More
 
2012 (Best Novel)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Louise Penny
2012 (Best First)
Click to search this book in our catalog
Susan M. Boyer.

Library Journal When PI Liz Talbot learns that her grandmother has been murdered at her South Carolina island home, she returns to Stella Maris, where she will stay until she can help solve the shocking homicide. Two other factors sway this decision: the ghost of her late best friend from high school is talking to her, and she inherited Gram's house. Her big brother, Blake, who is also chief of police, doesn't want her meddling-as if his hardheaded sister is giving him a choice. Plenty of secrets, long--simmering feuds, and greedy ventures make for a captivating read. VERDICT Boyer's chick lit PI debut charmingly showcases South Carolina island culture. Her light paranormal garnered nominations for the 2012 RITA Golden Heart Award and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. A nice pairing with Sue Ann Jaffarian's "Ghost of Granny Apples" series. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More
 
2012 (Best Childrens/Young Adult)
2012 (Best Historical)

Back