Despite that prudent reminder to take care during pandemic, the mood was celebratory as mystery publishers and authors honored the best in the genre, live and in-person, for the first time since 2019 at the Edgar Awards ceremony last night at New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.
Those who had won Edgars in 2020 and 2021, when the announcement of winners in the Mystery Writers of America's 15 categories was virtual, were acknowledged before the evening moved on to 2022's victors. Many of the presenters and honorees focused on the joys of being together again, with what many speakers referred to as their community, a supportive group credited with the success of some of the Edgar winners.
That sentiment was best exemplified by Grand Master Laurie R. King, who shifted to penning whodunits after earning a Master's Degree in theology, creating three bestselling series in the process. In his humorous and moving introduction, Leslie Klinger called King, his collaborator on several anthologies of Holmes-inspired fiction, "the most supportive writer for writers, who mentored many in attendance, and who always believed in giving something back." King herself asserted that any book is a "community effort," and that those who were being honored were just the tip of the iceberg, with most of the hard work to bring a book to press done by those behind the scenes. King winningly confessed to still suffering from imposter's syndrome, almost 30 years after her first published novel, The Beekeeper's Apprentice—which heretically married Sherlock Holmes off—enabled her to join MWA as an active member.
Soho Press associate publisher and Soho Crime imprint head Juliet Grames, the recipient of the Ellery Queen Award, which honors “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry," struck similar notes after being introduced by one of her authors. Sujata Massey noted Grames' gifts at both honoring writers' diverse voices and identifying what a manuscript needs, and deemed her an "ally to both writers and readers." After describing all editors on their own as being just "seething balls of thwarted ambition," Grames said she did not deserve the award, crediting current and past colleagues at Soho for her achievements.
Several of the winners thanked New York Times Book Review crime columnist and genre expert Sarah Weinman for giving them invaluable advice and support, and two presenters made what they asserted were obligatory Chris Rock jokes. The heart-felt emotions expressed by the 2022 winners ran the gamut from serious to less-so. They included Naomi Hirahara's crediting the genre with giving voice to societal crimes, not just traditional ones, such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the subject of her novel Clark And Division (Soho Crime). The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award went to Alan Parks, whose Bobby March Will Live Forever (Europa Editions – World Noir) landed the distinction of being named Best Paperback Original, thanked his publishers for displaying more faith in his book than was fiscally prudent, before eliciting wide laughter with his concluding sentiment: "I'm gonna get drunk now."
Below is the list of winners:
Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hard Case Crime)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
Deer Season by Erin Flanagan (University of Nebraska Press)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
BEST FACT CRIME
by Elon Green (Celadon Books)
by Edward White (W.W. Norton & Company)
BEST SHORT STORY
“The Road to Hana,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by R.T. Lawton (Dell Magazines)
Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
(Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Henry Holt and Company BFYR)
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Boots on the Ground” – Narcos: Mexico, Written by Iturri Sosa (Netflix)
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"Analogue,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Rob Osler (Dell Magazines)
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD
Runner by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)