Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Edgar Awards: The Winners are....

Expand Messages
  • Jeffrey Marks
    I m going to second what Dean said. I served on the Best Novel committee 2 years ago, and I know that I can t name the best novel winners for the 2000s or the
    Message 1 of 14 , May 1, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      I'm going to second what Dean said. I served on the Best Novel committee 2
      years ago, and I know that I can't name the best novel winners for the 2000s
      or the 1990s (I'm much better at the 1940s and 1950s). I doubt that anyone
      else on the committee would have been able to as well. If a book was strong,
      then it was selected. Who has won before or not did not come into play.

      I would also say that if a book had not grabbed my attention in the first
      100 pages, I would put it aside. There were nearly 600 books to read, and I
      was sure that other books would grab me before the that point.

      Having served on the best critical/biographical committee twice (my favorite
      of course!), I know there's no home field advantage to be had. It's a search
      for the best book. On this list, several members had significant objections
      to what James wrote. I can't speak for the committee, but it would likely be
      an issue with the members of the committee as well if they had the same
      objections.

      Jeff

      --
      Jeffrey Marks
      www.jeffreymarks.com
      Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of the month
      Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
      Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
      Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- 2009 Anthony winner


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Xavier Lechard
      Yes, they did. But if Author X writes consistently strong books year after year, should s/he be penalized by being denied consideration after having won a
      Message 2 of 14 , May 1, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        "Yes, they did. But if Author X writes consistently strong books year
        after year, should s/he be penalized by being denied consideration
        after having won a major prize? Should a person be allowed to win only
        one Edgar? I throw this out for general discussion."

        There are prizes you can win only once, like the Goncourt here in
        France, but I don't see any objection to someone winning two, three or
        four times provided that their work is actually the best of the year.
        But it must remain rare, as rare as is the talent needed to achieve
        such a feat. The problem - well, MY problem - with "serial
        nominees/winners" and awards with a high incidence of those is that
        they seem to suggest either a shortage of talent in the field or a
        lack of curiosity/audacity from the voters, neither of which bodes
        well on the state of the genre. But then it's only the way I see it.
        Also, the trend towards "multiwinningdom" in mystery awards is not an
        Edgar specialty as evidenced by latest Shamus and Anthony winners -
        and the MWA are still able to deliver some daring choices as evidenced
        by Jess Walter's and Jason Goodwin's wins.

        "Not everyone is enamored of Larsson's work. Though it has sold
        tremendously well worldwide, there have been a fair number of negative
        renews. I work part-time in one of the largest mystery bookstores in
        the world, and I have heard over and over from people who *love* the
        books, something like this "well, if you can make it through the first
        150/250 pages, then it gets really good." Frankly, having served on
        the Best Novel committee twice, I have to tell you, if a book doesn't
        grab me in the first 50 pages, I'm not going to persevere."

        You don't need to be enamored of Larrson (I'm not) to be surprised
        that one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers of the
        moment is bypassed by the most important mystery award of the world
        for the second consecutive year. Conversely and while I'm no fan
        either of these authors, I have always been puzzled as to why folks
        like James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson or Scott Turow
        invariably fail to secure a Best Novel nomination even though each new
        books of theirs is greeted like the Second Coming.

        "Also, a gentle correction, two of the six nominees this year for Best
        Novel, Jo Nesbo and Malla Nunn, are not American."

        I stand corrected with regard to Nunn. Still, two out of six nominees
        is quite low in comparison with standard numbers in the sixties or
        seventies.

        "As I recall, the CWA created the separate award for "foreign"
        mysteries because there were complaints over these foreigners winning
        the prize so often. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the
        practice."

        I know, and the fate of the new award, which should be renamed "Fred
        Vargas Dagger Award" since she won it three out of four times, is far
        from brilliant. Still, since the "problem" - foreigners
        under-represented among winners - is the reverse of the CWA one, maybe
        it would be the least worst way to make sure overseas talents are
        recognized.

        "As for the "now confirmed insularization," I offer you this
        information on recent Best Novel winners:
        >
        > 2007 -- Jason Goodwin for THE JANISSARY TREE (a list which also included Denise Mina and Joanne Harris)
        > 2004 -- Ian Rankin for RESURRECTION MEN (a list which also included Natsuo Kirino, Jacqueline Winspear, and Ken Bruen)"

        An interesting bit of trivia: From 1960-1967 every Best Novel Edgar
        went to a non-American. If you'd like to search the Edgar winners
        database, go to www.mysterywriters.org and follow the links for
        Awards.

        > I think it's a bit premature to say that the award has become "insularized."

        Two foreign winners for the whole decade is hardly testimony of
        internationalism. I'll admit that "insularization" may be too strong a
        word but there's no denying that the Edgar has been mostly
        U.S.-centered for the last two decades as opposed to the 60s and 70s
        open-the-doors approach. It's not necessarily a bad or a wrong thing -
        American crime fiction is quite rich and diverse, and the Edgar is,
        after all, an *American* award - but it's a fact.

        Friendly,
        Xavier

        P.S.: Let me perfectly clear that I am not slamming MWA committees or
        questioning their dedication to great mystery writing; I'm just
        voicing my opinion, with occasional disagreement, on the late
        evolution of an award which I have nothing but respect for.
      • Vegetableduck
        Jeff, yeah, I certainly can t say the James book deserved to win on actual merit. Personally, I would say the Highsmith bio, for one, was more deserving in
        Message 3 of 14 , May 1, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          Jeff, yeah, I certainly can't say the James book deserved to win on actual merit. Personally, I would say the Highsmith bio, for one, was more deserving in that sense (haven't actually read The Lineup). I did think perhaps that sentiment might carry the day for her, however. And, actually, Talking about Detective Fiction, because of all the reviews it got, is now a force to reckon with in the historiography of the Golden Age. There are fifteen reviews of Talking on Amazon, I notice, just one of Julian Symons' Bloody Murder (which is still in print), though the latter unquestionably is the more substantive of the two books.

          In terms of what has one before, the winners actually have been fairly evenly split between British and American subjects, as far as I can tell. Though if you have a British subject, you seem to be most likely to win if the subject is Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes. Edgar seems to like Encylopedia type formats as well, these often do well (The Lineup sounds like it can fit in this category).

          Strictly Golden Age, British of "British-style" subjects by my count have won in

          2001 (Sayers book)
          1993 (Van Dine)
          1980 (Sayers book)
          1979 (Christie book)
          1978 (Stout book)(though Stout has a touch of the hardboiled)

          That's out of 34 Edgars. And two of these winners, Stout and Van Dine, are American. Arthur Conan Doyle books have won more than the entire pantheon of the British GA, classical form writers. And if you knock out those first three, from very early on in Edgar history, only two have won, two in thirty years from 1981 to 2010. Maybe this is just an accurate reflection of which parts of the genre are tending to get the best works of criticism, I can't say.

          Of course, the encyclopedia-type books and general histories, like Leroy Panek's Introduction to the Detective Story, have sections on the Golden Age.

          If I may ask: When you served, Jeff, was there general agreement among you on the winners each year, or was there some back-and-forthing about it?

          Curt

          --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Jeffrey Marks <jeffrmarks@...> wrote:
          >
          > I'm going to second what Dean said. I served on the Best Novel committee 2
          > years ago, and I know that I can't name the best novel winners for the 2000s
          > or the 1990s (I'm much better at the 1940s and 1950s). I doubt that anyone
          > else on the committee would have been able to as well. If a book was strong,
          > then it was selected. Who has won before or not did not come into play.
          >
          > I would also say that if a book had not grabbed my attention in the first
          > 100 pages, I would put it aside. There were nearly 600 books to read, and I
          > was sure that other books would grab me before the that point.
          >
          > Having served on the best critical/biographical committee twice (my favorite
          > of course!), I know there's no home field advantage to be had. It's a search
          > for the best book. On this list, several members had significant objections
          > to what James wrote. I can't speak for the committee, but it would likely be
          > an issue with the members of the committee as well if they had the same
          > objections.
          >
          > Jeff
          >
          > --
          > Jeffrey Marks
          > www.jeffreymarks.com
          > Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of the month
          > Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
          > Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
          > Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- 2009 Anthony winner
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • jeffrey1marks
          Xavier, I think the differences come in that the Edgar judges read all the books in a year. I know critics do not. They look at a variety of factors in
          Message 4 of 14 , May 2, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            Xavier, I think the differences come in that the Edgar judges read all the books in a year. I know critics do not. They look at a variety of factors in determining which books to judge. So while one book might get critical acclaim from the mainstream press, they might never see a copy of Book X which could be substantially better.

            Jeff
          • Jeffrey Marks
            Curt, For the most part we ve agreed. When I read for the short story, we read over 800 short stories that year, and frankly I was shocked at the number of
            Message 5 of 14 , May 2, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              Curt,

              For the most part we've agreed. When I read for the short story, we read
              over 800 short stories that year, and frankly I was shocked at the number of
              stories we agreed on. There are some books in all my different categories
              that I've judged that I wish had been nominated and other times that I wish
              had not. But overall, it's been a very pleasant experience.

              I'd never seen a breakdown like that before of the Best Crit/Biogaphical.
              Sigh, you would wish that there were more biographies winning, but I know
              from personal experience that they don't always win! :) Perhaps I'll
              rename my current book to the Erle Stanley Gardner, Sherlock Holmes
              Encyclopedia!!

              Jeff

              --
              Jeffrey Marks
              www.jeffreymarks.com
              Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of the month
              Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
              Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
              Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- 2009 Anthony winner


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • linia_my
              Fair comment.Agree.
              Message 6 of 14 , May 2, 2010
              • 0 Attachment
                Fair comment.Agree.

                --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "jeffrey1marks" <jeffrmarks@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > Xavier, I think the differences come in that the Edgar judges read all the books in a year. I know critics do not. They look at a variety of factors in determining which books to judge. So while one book might get critical acclaim from the mainstream press, they might never see a copy of Book X which could be substantially better.
                >
                > Jeff
                >
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.