question-mark After the AAR Annual Reader Poll results came out this year a number of readers commented on the forum that they felt “out of sync” with many voters, as they either had not read, or disliked, many of the winning titles. As a pollster I’ve often felt this way. I believe I voted for two of the winning entries this year; in many years I don’t vote for a single one.

But I honestly feel even more “out of sync” with the mystery community. I read a lot of mysteries — both old and new — each year. As the nominations have come out for some of the major mystery awards I’ve been appalled at just how few I’ve read and have no desire to read.

The Edgar Awards will be presented by the Mystery Writers of America in May of 2013. I haven’t read any of the nominations for Best Novel or Best Paperback Original. I did read one of the nominations — Mr. Churchill’s Secretary — for Best First Novel, but that’s it. And honestly, after reading the descriptions of most of the nominees, I know that they’re not ones I’ll want to read.

Edgar Nominations for 2012 Mysteries

Best Novel:
The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman
Sunset by Al Lamanda
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley

Best First Novel:
The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The Expats by Chris Pavone
The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Black Fridays by Michael Sears

Best Paperback Original:
Complication by Isaac Adamson
Whiplash River by Lou Berney
Bloodland by Alan Glynn
Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn
The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters

The Agatha Nominations often come a bit closer to my mystery reading taste. As the Malice Domestic site explains, “The genre is loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence.”

I’ve read and enjoyed three of the nominees for Best Novel (A Fatal Winter, The Buzzard Table, and The Beautiful Mystery) and have the other two in my TBR pile. I haven’t read any of the nominations for Best First Novel, but several sound interesting and I intend to check them out. One of my favorite mystery genres is historical mysteries, and I’ve read three of the nominees. I liked The Twelve Clues of Christmas and An Unmarked Grave. But while I’ve adored the Maisie Dobbs series, the latest, Elegy for Eddie, just didn’t work for me, and I have yet to finish it. I’ve been meaning to start Victoria Thompson’s series but haven’t found the time. Until I read the nominations, I’d never heard of the Dandy Gilver series. It does sound interesting, so I think I’ll give the series a try, starting with the first.

Agatha Nominees for the Best of 2012 in mystery

Best Novel:
The Diva Digs Up the Dirt by Krista Davis
A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet
The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best First Novel:
Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer
Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown
A Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan
A Killer Read by Erika Chase
Faithful Unto Death by Stephanie Jaye Evans

Best Historical Novel:
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder by Catriona McPherson
Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

The Dilys Winn Award is given out at Left Coast Crime (an annual event sponsored by mystery fans) by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA) to the book they most enjoyed selling during the past year. I read and enjoyed two of the nominees (Granddad, There’s a Head on the Beach and Mr. Churchill’s Secretary). I’ve been meaning to start on Peter Robinson’s books as well as Tana French’s series as well.

Dilys Nominees

Granddad, There’s a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill
Broken Harbor by Tana French
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The Expats by Chris Pavone
Before the Poison by Peter Robinson

Some of my favorite mysteries of 2012 didn’t get nominated for any of these awards, most notably: A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths, The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines, No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie, Valley of Ashes by Cornelia Read, and Death in a Floating City by Tasha Alexander.

I know there are a number of mystery readers among AAR readers. How do the nominations I’ve listed fit with your 2012 reading? Are there surprises? Books you think should have made the cut that didn’t, or books you hated that garnered a nomination?

– LinnieGayl Kimmel

NOTE: I’ve only listed the nomination categories that I actually read here. For example, I don’t read short stories or true crime, so didn’t list those categories. You can find the full list of nominations at the links I’ve provided.

Lynn Spencer
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I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.