a guest post from mystery author Kaye George
Something happened to me this year that I still can't believe. I'll tell you at the end, but it involves Agatha Christie and an organization called Malice Domestic. I'd like to tell you a bit about both of these first.
Agatha Christie. Her books were written in a time, some might say, of less exposure to violence, although I think the two World Wars exposed everyone in her generation to quite a bit of it. She wrote two series that are read and re-read today, those starring Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Her Tommy and Tuppence books and some stories with other sleuths aren't widely read, but I'll bet you'll find a Miss Marple and a Hercule Poirot, at least one of each, checked out of your local library every time you go. You'll also find them on bookshelves everywhere--36 years after her death in 1976. (For writers today, take heart, it took even Agatha several years to get her first novel published.)
The Awards, given annually at the Malice Domestic conference, are given to mystery and crime writers who write via the same method as Agatha Christie. Ideally, that means there is a closed setting, no sex or violence, and an amateur detective. Global thriller and psychological suspense writers need to seek awards elsewhere.
Malice Domestic Ltd. has been around since 1989 when Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Short Story Awards were given. Other categories were added over the years, and a new one appeared this year. Awards are now given for Best Novel, Best First Mystery, Best Short Story, Best Non-Fiction, Best Children's/Young Adult Mystery, Best Historical Mystery (the new one this year).
Everyone who is registered for the April-May conference by December 31st of the preceding year receives a ballot and is invited to nominate five books or stories in each category. A panel of judges chooses the five in each category to put on the ballot. The attendees vote for one of each and the award, a teapot, is given at the banquet on Saturday night.
This conference is so well-organized and fun. And it's run by a volunteer board of people who give up their outside lives (I'm sure) for a few months to run it.
A picture of a teapot is here. This is Avery Aames winning last year! Coincidentally, the two gigglers in the background are me and Janet Bolin.
It's a coincidence, because here's the list for Best First Novel for this year:
Choke by Kaye George (Mainly Murder Press)
Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry (Crown)
Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab (Berkley)
Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend (Berkley)
I am still hyperventilating when I see that list! You can read this year's complete list of nominees in all categories here.
Kaye George is the Agatha-nominated author of Choke.
Some of the information for this post was taken from the Agatha Christie website and Wikipedia.