High Drama at Mystery Gala | Edgar Awards 2017

The 2017 Edgar Award winners and honorees (photo courtesy of Aslan Chalom)

Edgar Award 2017 winners and honorees
(Photo courtesy of Aslan Chalom)

The Edgar Awards, mystery’s highest literary honor, have often been compared to the Academy Awards, and like this year’s Oscar telecast, the Mystery Writers of America’s (MWA)  71st Annual Edgar Awards banquet, held April 27 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, did not lack for drama and suspense.

Instead of a wrong winner being announced, a health scare interrupted the evening’s proceedings when incoming MWA president Jeffery Deaver suddenly fainted just as he was introducing the Best Young Adult Novel category. The speedy arrival of an Emergency Medical Services team quickly revived the best-selling author, who was able to walk out of the ballroom, and a subsequent report from the hospital indicated that medical tests were normal. Taking over as host, MWA executive vice president Donna Andrews calmly presided over the rest of the program.

beforethefall041516-199x300[1]Noah Hawley’s gripping thriller about the aftermath of a mysterious plane crash, After the Fall, took the evening’s biggest award, winning Best Novel. The creator of FX’s Fargo was unable to accept his Edgar Allen Poe statuette in person, but prepared remarks read in his absence noted the genre’s increasing literary sophistication: “The mystery we are all trying to solve is why we are here.” In a very competitive Best First Novel category, Flynn Berry’s dark and twisty Under the Harrow came out on top. Adrian McKinty’s Rain Dogs, the fifth entry in his Northern Ireland–set procedural series, was named Best Paperback Original. Lawrence Block’s “Autumn at the Automat,” from the Edward Hopper–inspired anthology In Sunlight or In Shadow was honored as Best Short Story. In accepting his award, Block joked that he was grateful that his name hadn’t appeared in the “In Memoriam” video that screened earlier in the evening.

In the nonfiction categories, Ruth Franklin’s Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, already a National Book Critics Circle Award biography winner, earned the Edgar for Best Critical/Biographical while Kate Summerscale’s The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer won as the Best Fact Crime book. Among the night’s other honors, Max Allen Collins and Ellen Hart were named Grand Masters. Hart, author of the Lambda Award–winning “Jane Lawless” series, is the first gay mystery writer to be so recognized.

For the full list of winners, go to https://mysterywriters.org/.

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Wilda Williams About Wilda Williams

Wilda "Willy" Williams (wwilliams@mediasourceinc.com) is LJ's Fiction Editor. She specializes in popular fiction and edits the Mystery, Science Fiction, Christian Fiction, and Word on Street Lit columns.

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