Every year, Mystery Writers of America presents an Edgar Award to the best mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, and theater published or produced the previous year. Attending the Edgar Awards ceremony is like attending the Academy Awards, except you’re in New York rather than Los Angeles. Everyone is “dressed to kill” (black tie preferred!). There’s a cocktail party, a dinner, a presentation from the out-going president of MWA, and then each category is introduced. Nominees are read. Suspense builds. No one know who the winners are until the envelope is opened and the titles are read. If you want to know what it’s like to attend the ceremony as a nominee, I blogged about it ad nauseam here.
I’ve also had the opportunity to serve on the Juvenile Edgar Award committee (Twice! But I won’t tell you which years…). I spent those years reading all the mysteries that were published for kids the previous year and discussing them with my fellow committee members. This was an eye-opening experience because I learned that people have very different tastes in books! Of course I knew that before I served on the committee, but given our job was to choose the BEST mystery that was published that year, I sort of thought we’d automatically agree on which books were the best.
Of course we didn’t. Because we were five very different people, who lived in different parts of the country and wrote different kinds of mysteries. It only made sense we would have different tastes. Just like our readers.
I’m proud of the work we did as a committee because we ended up with a wide range of mysteries on our list of nominees. Something for everyone. The nominees are supposed to represent THE BEST mysteries that were published the previous year, not simply the books one or two people happened to like best. And…we were in agreement on the winner.
It looks to me as though this year’s list of nominees for Best Juvenile Mystery is just as eclectic as our list was. This year’s nominees are:
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)… a contemporary mystery involving an unsent letter hidden inside a first edition copy of Charlotte’s Web and a treasure hunt
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)… a humorous science fiction murder mystery set on the moon
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)…a story about five strangers who show up at an inn over the holidays, each bringing a unique story and mystery involving the inn.
Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Quirk Books)… an action-packed STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) mystery that includes instructions for gadgets kids can build.
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)…a multi-cultural suburban mystery involving a family feud and vandalism of rival Afghan grocery stores.
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)…about a sixth grade artist who has a photographic memory and helps the NYPD solve a series of art thefts.
How many have you read?
Which one do you think will win?
The banquet will be held on April 29, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. Check The Edgars official website for more information.
–Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of many books for children, including the Haunted Library series and her Edgar award winning series, The Buddy Files.