Awards for mystery novels and their authors abound! Probably the best known, and most coveted, of those given in the United States are the Edgar All Poe Awards. Chosen by members of the Mystery Writers of America since 1945, they are more commonly known as the “Edgars,”
The Macavity Awards differ from most mystery novel honors in two important respects.
First, readers select the nominees and winners, not a committee or professionals in the field. Each year, members of Mystery Readers International (MRI) nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in four categories. MRI is the largest mystery fan/reader organization in the world. It is open to all mystery fans, including collectors, critics, editors, publishers and writers. First and foremost, however, all are mystery readers.
Second, the Macavity name obviously is a tad unusual. Most other awards are named for people (Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Anthony Boucher, Canadian Crime Writers Arthur Ellis Awards, et al) or bear titles like the Shamus or Dagger Awards, The Macavity Awards, however, are named for the “mystery cat” of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
Started by Janet A. Rudolph, Berkeley, California, MRI now has members in all 50 of the United States and 18 foreign countries. Members have been voting to select Macavity winners each year since 1987.
Here is the list of 2003 awards (for books published during 2002) by category, with title, author and publisher. Nominees are also listed in each category.
Best Mystery Novel: Winter and Night by S.J. Rozan (St. Martin’s Minotaur). She beat out serious competition as the list of the other nominees indicates:
Nine by Jan Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews (Harper Collins)
City of Bones by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Jolie Blon’s Bounce by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Best First Mystery Novel: In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (St. Martin’s Minotaur). Other nominees:
A Valley To Die For by Radine Trees Nehring (St. Kitts Press)
The Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathon King (Dutton)
The Distance by Eddie Muller (Scribner)
The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Crime Fiction edited by Mike Ashley (Carroll & Graf
The Art of Noir: The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Film Noir by Eddie Muller (Overlook Press)
Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel by Jeff Marks (Deadly Alibi Press)
Best Mystery Short Story: “Voice Mail” by Janet Dawson (Scam and Eggs, Five Star).
“Boot Scoot” by Diana Deverell (AHMM, October 2002)
“The Adventure of the Rara Avis“ by Carolyn Wheat (Murder, My Dear Watson, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon Lellenberg & Daniel Stashower; Carroll & Graf)
“An Empire’s Reach” by Brendan DuBois (AHMM, Nov 2002)
“Too Many Cooks” by Marcia Talley (Much Ado About Murder, edited by Anne Perry, Berkley Prime Crime)
“Bible Belt” by Toni L.P. Kelner (EQMM, June 2002)
Winners in 2002 were:
Best Mystery Novel: Folly by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
Best First Mystery Novel: Open Season by C. J. Box (G.P. Putnam’s)
Best Bio/Critical Mystery Work: Writing the Mystery: A Start to Finish Guide for Both Novice and Professional by G. Miki Hayden (Intrigue)
Best Mystery Short Story: “The Abbey Ghosts” by Jan Burke (AHMM, Jan 2001)
Notable nominees and award winners in previous years include:
Blood Work by Michael Connelly (Best Mystery Novel of 1999)
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly (1998 Nominee)
Killing Floor by Lee Child (1998 Nominee)
Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich (1997 Nominee)
Under the Beetle’s Cellar by Mary Willis Walker (Best Mystery Novel of 1996)
The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly (1996 Nominee)
She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb (Best Mystery Novel of 1995)
The Sculptress by Minette Walters (Best Mystery Novel of 1994)
A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman (Best Mystery Novel of 1989)