Mystery Writers Awards–The Dilys Award

Recently, the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association voted on which books they most enjoyed selling. This award, among other mystery writers awards, truly reflects what most bookmen and probably customers find appealing, not necessarily the best written titles–although usually, the two are one. Mystery bookstore workers are passionate about their opinions, and strive to find the best of the best to turn on to their customers. When I worked in crime fiction bookstores, I felt a responsibility to make sure those titles I suggested fit the customer’s taste, but were also extremely well written. This year’s nominees are

When Elves Attack, by Tim Dorsey

Wicked Autumn, by G. M. Malliet

Tag Man, by Archer Mayor

A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny

Ghost Hero, by S. J. Rozan

Tim Dorsey writes crime novels as if on crack–no, wait, that doesn’t sound right–what I mean is, the pace of his writing is so fast and electric, you’d think he was on crack. Still not right. Let’s just say that his crazy characters may actually be on crack in his books, you just never know, lol.  Serge, probably a sociopath, and his sidekick, Colman celebrate Christmas in the Sunshine State in their own unique way. If you’ve never experienced a Tim Dorsey novel–grab one now, they go fast.

G. M. Malliet won the highly competitive grant from  Malice Domestic for her first novel. The book nominated here is the first in a new series. Her’s what she has to say about herself :

I am currently writing a new mystery series for Thomas Dunne/Minotaur Books. The first book in the series is Wicked Autumn and it will launch September 13, 2011. It features Max Tudor, former MI5 agent turned Anglican priest.
My books are affectionate send-ups of the traditional British mystery. Two of my previous books, Death and the Lit Chick (2009) and Death of a Cozy Writer (2008), were Anthony Award nominees. Death of a Cozy Writer also won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, having first been completed with the aid of the Malice Domestic Grant. Kirkus Reviews named it one of the best books of 2008.

Archer Mayor is a seasoned professional who has 22 books under his belt featuring Joe Gunner. Here’s what his website says:

“For years, Archer has integrated actual police methodology with intricately detailed plot lines into novels that The New York Times has called “dazzling,” and Booklist has said are “among the best cop stories being written today.” Whereas many writers base their books on only interviews and scholarly research, Mayor’s novels are based on actual experience in the field. The result adds a depth, detail and veracity to his characters and their tribulations that has led The New York Times to call him “the boss man on procedures,” and the Arizona Daily Star to write, “Few deliver such well-rounded novels of such consistent high quality.”

I can add that the titles I’ve read of Mr. Mayor’s have been excellent. Tag Man was a New York Times Bestseller–a first for the author, and well deserved.

Louise Penny has been lauded ever since her first book was published. Her latest–A Trick of the Light was not only a New York Times bestseller, but was named one of the best of 2011. She explains her series this way:
“As I’ve mentioned before, the Chief Inspector Gamache books, while clearly crime fiction, are not in fact about murder or even death. They’re really about life. And friendship. About belonging and choices. And how very difficult it can be, how much courage it can take, to be kind.”
S. J. Rozan, I admit, is not only a favorite writer of mine, but a personal friend, so I’m naturally prejudiced in her favor. Her work remains fresh, evocative, with amazing characters. She’s won numerous awards, including the Edgar for Winter and Night. Ghost Hero continues her Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series:
“American-Born Chinese PI Lydia Chin is called in on what appears to be a simple case.  Jeff Dunbar, art world insider, wants her to track down a rumor.  Contemporary Chinese painting is sizzling hot on the art scene and no one is hotter than Chau Chun, known as the Ghost Hero.  A talented and celebrated ink painter, Chau’s highly-prized work mixes classical forms and modern political commentary.  The rumor of new paintings by Chau is shaking up the art world.  There’s only one problem – Ghost Hero Chau has been dead for twenty years, killed in the 1989 Tianamen Square uprising.”
The Dilys Award is named for Dilys Winn, the owner of the very first mystery bookstore in the United States, Murder Ink. Opened in 1972, Ms. Winn operated it for a number of years, then sold it. It continued on until 2006, when after rents went through the roof, and less people were buying in stores, it closed its doors. I was privileged to work there for around two years in the late 1990s.
The winner will be announced March 31 at Mining For Murder  the 2012 Left Coast Crime Convention in Sacramento.
From what I know about the writers nominated, each deserve to win this and any other award.
For more info on IMBA and past Dilys winners–

3 thoughts on “Mystery Writers Awards–The Dilys Award”

  1. Very happy to see 3 of my favorite authors have been nominated!! Is there just one book that wins the Dilys?

    I recommended Louise Penny to 2 patrons and one said that Penny’s procedural details were “all wrong”.. phooey! I pressed for examples and she only had one (!) and that one turned out to be incorrect on the patron’s part. She had overlooked the fact that Penny’s stories take place in Canada, so different laws, etc. Anyway, when I asked her what she thought of Penny’s writing style, she just shrugged. You see, I’m not dealing with folks here in OR who can appreciate writing style apart from the story! grrrr. There are some writers who I would read no matter what they wrote about. 🙂 Even a shopping list!

    Anyway, now I’ve picked up yet another recommendation from you: Archer Mayor. I’ll look for his titles right now, thanks! And, please tell S.J. that I’m really really really looking forward to her next Chin/Smith book!!

    • You only named two of the three–who’s the third? It’s not just Oregon, my dear, there are people everywhere who can’t tell a good writer from a nitwit.
      LOL. I’ll relay to S. J, your thoughts!

      • Oh, Malliet is the third! She has a great knack for subtle wit. The plots are good, also, not tremendously exciting in a “what next?” way, but I found myself absorbed and amused. I’m looking forward to more from her.

        Yes, please do lean on S. J. to get cracking on her next book, hee hee!

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