Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Which mystery books won?

Published Thursday, May 30, 2024

Every year the Mystery Writers of America honor the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television. This year's Edgar Allan Poe Awards were announced on May 1, 2024. A selection of the winners is below.

Best Novel

Flags on the Bayou
by James Lee Burke

In the fall of 1863, the Union army is in control of the Mississippi river. Much of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is occupied. The Confederate army is in disarray, corrupt structures are falling apart, and enslaved men and women are beginning to glimpse freedom.

When Hannah Laveau, a formerly enslaved woman working on the Lufkin plantation, is accused of murder, she goes on the run with Florence Milton, an abolitionist schoolteacher, dodging the local constable and the slavecatchers that prowl the bayous. Wade Lufkin, haunted by what he observed—and did—as a surgeon on the battlefield, has returned to his uncle’s plantation to convalesce, where he becomes enraptured by Hannah. Flags on the Bayou is an engaging, action-packed narrative that includes a duel that ends in disaster, a brutal encounter with the local Union commander, repeated skirmishes with Confederate irregulars led by a diseased and probably deranged colonel, and a powerful story of love blossoming between an unlikely pair. As the story unfolds, it illuminates a past that reflects our present in sharp relief.

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Nominees

All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby
The Madwomen of Pari
s by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Bright Young Wome
n by Jessica Knoll

An Honest Man
by Michael Koryta

The River We Remember
by William Kent Krueger

Crook Manifesto
by Colson Whitehead

Best First Novel by an American Author

The Peacock and the Sparrow
by I.S. Berry

Shane Collins, a world-weary CIA spy, is ready to come in from the cold. Stationed in Bahrain off the coast of Saudi Arabia for his final tour, he’s anxious to dispense with his mission—uncovering Iranian support for the insurgency against the monarchy. But then he meets Almaisa, a beautiful and enigmatic artist, and his eyes are opened to a side of Bahrain most expats never experience, to questions he never thought to ask.

When his trusted informant becomes embroiled in a murder, Collins finds himself drawn deep into the conflict. His budding romance with Almaisa—and his loyalties—are upended; in an instant, he's caught in the crosswinds of a revolution. Drawing on all his skills as a spymaster, he sets out to learn the truth behind the Arab Spring, win Almaisa’s love, and uncover the murky border where Bahrain’s secrets end and America’s begin.

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Nominees

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua
Small Town Sins by Ken Jaworowski
The Last Russian Doll
by Kristen Loesch
Murder by Degrees by Ritu Mukerji

Best Paperback Original

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers
by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Sixty-year-old self-proclaimed tea expert Vera Wong enjoys nothing more than sipping a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy ‘detective’ work on the internet (AKA checking up on her son to see if he’s dating anybody yet).

But when Vera wakes up one morning to find a dead man in the middle of her tea shop, it’s going to take more than a strong Longjing to fix things. Knowing she’ll do a better job than the police possibly could – because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands – Vera decides it’s down to her to catch the killer.

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Nominees

Hide by Tracy Clark
The Taken Ones by Jess Lourey
Lowdown Road by Scott Von Doviak
Boomtown by A.F. Carter

Best Juvenile

The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto
by Adrianna Cuevas

Rafa would rather live in the world of The Forgotten Age, his favorite role-playing game, than face his father’s increasing restrictions and his mother’s fading presence. But when Rafa and his friends decide to take the game out into the real world and steal their school cafeteria’s slushee machine, his dad concocts a punishment Rafa never could’ve imagined- a month working on a ranch in New Mexico, far away from his friends, their game, and his mom’s quesitos in Miami.

Life at Rancho Espanto isn’t as bad as Rafa initially expected, mostly due to Jennie, a new friend with similarly strong snack opinions, and Marcus, the veteran barn manager who’s not as gruff as he appears. But when Rafa’s work at the ranch is inexplicably sabotaged by a man who may not be what he seems, Rafa and Jennie explore what’s behind the strange events at Rancho Espanto- and discover that the greatest mystery may have been with Rafa all along.

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Nominees

Myrtle, Means, and Opportunity by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Epic Ellisons: Cosmos Camp by Lamar Giles
The Jules Verne Prophecy by Larry Schwarz & Iva-Marie Palmer
What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski

About the Author

Katherine is the Social Media Coordinator and has been working at EPL since 2008. She loves books, especially ones with unique plots and those written so well that she can't put them down.