Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Notes — Best Mystery/Crime Books of the 20th Century

Won Three of Four Major Awards

This is the award season. One of the top crime writing awards was made earlier in New York; but with Bouchercon about to begin in Cleveland, and a bunch of awards scheduled to be announced there, it might be good to have a look at award winners from the past. 

Actually, I’m not sure how I feel about book awards.  I’d probably feel better about them if I had received a few.  However, I think we have to recognize that award giving is one way of letting readers know about excellence in the field.  In this presentation I’m listing awards by year.  I’ve tapped the awards from respected organizations in order to provide the broadest possible view of the best novels of each decade.  The compilation will come from the Mystery Writers of America (The Edgar and the Anthony), the Private Eye Writers of America (The Shamus), Mystery Readers International (The Macavity) and the quarterly magazine Deadly Pleasures (The Barry). 

It should be noted, though, that until the 1980s, the only recognized author awards for crime writers was the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgars. It should also be noted that eligibility for the Shamus Award, the second oldest established award for crime writing, is limited to books about private investigators.

Best Mystery/Crime Fiction Novels — The 1950s

1954   Charlotte Jay, Beat Not the Bones, Edgar
1955   Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye, Edgar
1956   Margaret Miller, Beast in View, Edgar
1957   Charlotte Armstrong, Dram of Poison, Edgar
1958   Ed Lacy, Room to Swing, Edgar
1959   Stanley Ellin, The Eighth Circle, Edgar

Best Mystery, Crime Fiction Novels — The 1960s

1960   Celia Fremlin, The Hours Before Dawn, Edgar
1961   Julian Symons, The Progress of a Crime, Edgar
1962   J. J. Marric, Gideon’s Fire, Edgar
1963   Ellis Peters, Death and the Joyful Woman, Edgar
1964   Eric Ambler, The Light of Day, Edgar
1965   John le Carre, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Edgar
1966   Adam Hall, The Quiller Memorandum, Edgar
1967   Nicholas Freeling, The King of the Rainy Country, Edgar
1968   Donald E. Westlake, God Save the Mark, Edgar
1969   Jeffrey Hudson, A Case of Need, Edgar

Best Mystery, Crime Fiction Novels — 1970s

1970   Dick Francis, Forfeit, Edgar
1971   Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, The Laughing Policeman, Edgar
1972   Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal, Edgar
1973   Warren Kiefer, The Lingala Code, Edgar
1974   Tony Hillerman, Dance Hall of the Dead, Edgar
1975   Jon Cleary, Peter’s Pence, Edgar
1976   Brian Garfield, Hopscotch, Edgar
1977   Robert B. Parker, Promised Land, Edgar
1978   William H. Hallahan, Catch Me: Kill Me, Edgar
1979   Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle, Edgar

Best Mystery, Crime Fiction Novels — 1980s

1980   Arthur Mailing, The Reheingold Route, Edgar
1981   Dick Francis, Whip Hand, Edgar
1982   William Bayer, Peregrine, Edgar
            Bill Pronzini, Hoodwink, Shamus
1983   Rick Boyer, Billingsgate Shoal, Edgar
            Lawrence Block, Eight Million Ways to Die, Shamus
1984   Elmore Leonard, La Brava, Edgar
            Max Allan Collins, True Detective, Shamus
1985   Ross Thomas, Briarpatch, Edgar
            Loren D. Estleman, Sugartown, Shamus
1986   L. R. Right, The Suspect, Edgar
            Sue Grafton, “B” Is for Burglar, Shamus
            Sue Grafton, “B” Is for Burglar, Anthony
1987   Barbara Vine, A Dark-Adapted Eye, Edgar
            Jeremiah Healy, The Staked Goat, Shamus
            Sue Grafton, “C” Is for Corpse, Anthony
            Faye Kellerman, The Ritual Bath &
                        Marilyn Wallace, A Case of Loyalties, Macavity (tie)
1988   Aaron Elkins, Old Bones, Edgar
            Benjamin Sutz, A Tax in Blood,Shamus
            Tony Hillerman, Skinwalkers, Anthony
            Robert Crais, The Monkey’s Raincoat, Macavity
1989   Stuart M. Kaminsky, A Cold Red Sunrise, Edgar
            John Lutz, Kiss, Shamus
            Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony
            Tony Hillerman, A Thief of Time, Macavity

Best Mystery, Crime Fiction Novels — 1990s

1990   James Lee Burke, Black Cherry Blues, Edgar
            Jonathan Valin, Extenuating Circumstances, Shamus
            Sarah Cauldwell, The Siren Songs of Murder, Anthony
            Carolyn Hart, A Little Class on Murder, Macavity
1991   Julie Smith, New Orleans Mourning, Edgar
            Sue Grafton, “G” Is for Gumshoe, Shamus
            Sue Grafton, “G” Is for Gumshoe, Anthony
            Sharyn McCrumb, If Ever I Return, Peggy-O, Macavity
1992   Lawrence Block, A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, Edgar
            Max Allan Collins, Stolen Away, Shamus
            Peter Lovesey, The Last Detective, Anthony
            Nancy Picard, I.O.U., Macavity
1993   Margaret Maron, Bootlegger’s Daughter, Edgar
            Harold Adams, The Man Who Was Taller Than God, Shamus
            Margaret Maron, Bootlegger’s Daughter, Anthony
            Margaret Maron, Bootlegger’s Daughter, Macavity
1994   Minette Walters, The Sculptress, Edgar
            Lawrence Block, The Devil Knows Your Dead, Shamus
            Marcia Muller, Wolf in the Shadows,  Anthony
            Minette Walters, The Sculptress, Macavity
1995   Mary Willis Walker, The Red Scream, Edgar
            Sue Grafton, “K” Is for Killer, Shamus
            Sharyn McCrumb, She Walks These Hills, Anthony
            Sharyn McCrumb, She Walks These Hills, Macavity
1996   Dick Francis, Come to Grief, Edgar
S. J. Rozan, Concourse, Shamus
Mary Willis Walker, Under the Beetle’s Cellar, Anthony
Mary Willis Walker, Under the Beetle’s Cellar, Macavity
1997   Thomas H. Cook, The Catham School Affair, Edgar
Robert Crais, Sunset Express, Shamus
Michael Connelly, The Poet, Anthony
Peter Lovesey, Bloodhounds, Macavity
Peter Lovesey, Bloodhounds, Barry
1998   James Lee Burke, Cimarron Rose, Edgar
            Terence Faherty, Come Back Dead, Shamus
            S. J. Rozan, No Colder Place, Anthony
            Deborah Crombie, Dreaming of the Bones, Macavity
            Michael Connelly, Trunk Music, Barry
1999   Robert Clark, Mr. White’s Confession, Edgar
            Bill Pronzini, Boobytrap, Shamus
            Michael Connelly, Blood Work, Anthony
            Michael Connelly, Blood Work, Macavity
            Reginald Hill, On Beulah Height and
Dennis Lehane, Gone Baby Gone, Barry (tie)

We’ll pick up the best mysteries of the year 2000 next Monday.


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