CyberGumshoe's Mumblings in November/December 2020

David Baldacci Wins Nero

The Wolfe Pack, a Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe friendship organization, announced online on December 05 that the winner of the 2020 Nero Award is ONE GOOD DEED, by David Baldacci(Grand Central, 2019). The winning novel introduces Baldacci's new character Aloysius Archer, a traight talking former World War II soldier fresh out of prison for a crime he did not commit.

At the same occasion , "El Cuerpo en el Barril" ("The Body in the Barrel") by Tom Larsen was announced as the winner of the Black Orchid Novella Award. The winning novella will be published in the July 2021 issue of Alfred Hichtcock's Mystery Magazine. (December 29, 2020)

Parnell Hall Dies

Parnell Hall died of Covid-19 on December 15 in New York. The former private detective and actor and screenwriter and location manager for films wrote his first mystery novel, DETECTIVE (Donald I. Fine, 1987), featuring non-violent ambulance-chasing private investigator Stanley Hastings in New York. This first novel was nominated for the 1988 Edgar and Shamus Awards for best first novel, after writing the screenplay for the 1984 cult movie "C.H.U.D." (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwelllers). He followed it with 19 more Hastings novels, ending with A FOOL FOR A CLIENT (PEGASUS, 2015). He also wrote a courtroom drama series featuring New York attorney Steve Winslow, starting with BAXTER TRUST (Donald I. Fine, 1988) and ending with THE INNOCENT WOMAN (self-published e-book, 2011). His third series character is Cora Felton, a crossword creator in Bakerhaven, Connecticut in the cozy Puzzle Lady mysteries, starting with A CLUE FOR THE PUZZLE LADY (Bantam, 1999) and ending with LIGHTS! CAMERA! PUZZLES! (Pegasus, 2019). He entertained mystery fans and writers with funny songs he wrote and composed at mystery conventions and gatherings. He was 76. (December 20, 2020)

Addendum -- Yeah, I almost forgot. Hall won the 2016 Shamus award for "The Dead Client," a Stanley Hastings story, included in DARK CITY LIGHTS (Three Rooms Press, 2015; edited by Lawrence Block). His last novel was a stand-alone, thriller, CHASING JACK (Brash Books, 2020). (December 21, 2020)

John le Carre Dies

B>John le Carre (real name: David Cornwell) died on December 12 from pneunomia at hospital in Truro, Cornwall, UK. While working as an active MI5 (the British Security Service) officer, he began writing his first novel, CALL FOR THE DEAD (Gollantz, 1961), featuring George Smiley, the spymaster of the Circus. Smiley changed the image of male spies from a handsome and strong woman-chasing one in the James Bond-type to a middle-aged world-weary quiet one. HIs third novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (Gollantz, 1963), with Smiley as a supporting role, became an instant bestseller, to his own surprise. It won the 1963 Gold Dagger Award from the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) and the 1965 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America (MWA). And another Smiley novel, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY (Hodder & Stoughton, 1977) won the 1977 Gold Dagger Award. He received the 1984 Grand Master Award from MWA and the 1988 Diamond Dagger Award from CWA. His last novel was AGENT RUNNING IN THE FIELD (Viking, 2019). He was 89. (December 20, 2020)

Rankin to Complete McIlvanney's Final Novel

Canogate Books asked Ian Rankin to complete William McIlvanney's handwritten manuscript of a final Inspector Jack Laidlaw novel. McIlvanney, often called "The God Father of Tartan Noir," was the author of three novels featuring Inspector Jack Laidlaw of Glasgow CID, and died in December 2015 at the age of 79. His living partner Siobhan Lynch found a unfinished novel, THE DARK REMAINS, the story of Laidlaw's first case, and took the manuscript to Canongate Books, which had republished McIlvanney's books in 2013. As McIlvanney was a literary hero of Rankin, Rankin had accepted the offer. THE DARK REMAINS will be published by Canongate in September 2021. (December 09, 2020)

Antti Tuomainen Wins Petrona

It was announced that LITTLE SIBERIA, by Antti Tuomainen, translated from the Finnish by David Hackston (Orenda Books) has won the 2020 Petrona Award for the best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The five other shortlistees were:
THE COURIER, by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)
INBORN, by Tohmas Enger, translated by Kari Dickson (Orenda Books; Norway)
THE CABIN, by Jorn Lier Horst, translated by Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph; Norway)
THE SILVER ROAD, by Stina Jackson, translated by Susan Beard (Corvus; Sweden) -- highly commended
THE ABSOLUTION, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, translated by Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton; Iceland)

Tuomainen receives a trophy and a cash prize as well as a pass to and a guaranteed panel at Crime Fest 2022 in Bristol, UK. (December 04, 2020)

Sue Henry Dies

Sue Henry died on November 20 in Anchorage, Alaska. The former director of the Adult Learning Center at the University of Alaska wrote her first novel, MURDER ON THE IDITAROD TRAIL (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991), introducing Jessie Arnold, a dog sled racer, and Sergeant Alex Jensen, an Alaska state trooper. The novel won the 1992 Anthony and Macavity Awards for best first novel, and was adapted for television in 1995 as "The Cold Heart of a Killer" starring Kate Jackson. Henry penned 11 more Arnold & Jensen novels, ending with DEGREES OF SEPARATION (NAL, 2008). It was announced that NAL would publish the 13th Arnold & Jensen novel, COLD AS ICE, in 2010, but it has not been published yet. Henry's another series features Maxine "Maxie" McNabb, a 60-something Alaskan widow, who explores America in her Winnebago with her miniature dachshund Stretch, starting with THE SERPENTS TRAIL (2004) and ending withh THE END OF THE ROAD (NAL, 2009). She was 80. (December 01, 2020)

Charlaine Harris, Jeffery Deaver to Receive Grand Master Awards

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) has announced that Charlaine Harris and Jeffery Deaver will individually receive the 2021 Grand Master Awards and that Malice Domestic will be the recipient of the 2021 Raven Award.

Harris is famous for the Southern Vampire series as well as the Aurora Teagarden novels, the Lily Bard books, and the Midnight Texas trilogy, while Deaver is well-known as the writer of the Lincoln Rhyme novels, the Kathryn Dance novels, and the Colter Shaw novels. The Malice Domestic conference has been held every spring since 1989, and is presenting the Agatha Awards during the conference.

They will receive their awards at the Edgar Awards Ceremony on Thursday April 29, New York.(November 24, 2020)

Alan Williams Dies

J. Kingston Pierce ofThe Rap Sheet reported that Alan Williams died of Covid-19 on April 21 in London. The elder son of the famous actor and playwright Emlyn Williams was a foreign correspondent, and in his free time he wrote his first thriller about the Algerian War, LONG RUN SOUTH (Blond, 1962), without any experience of being in North Africa. It introduced Rupert Quinn, a swashbuckling English courier in North Africa, became a bestseller. Then he volunteered to go to Algeria to cover the war, and the word "Barbouze" (spy) was written in the dust on his car there. He wrote BARBOUZE (Blond, 1962; US title: THE FALSE BEARDS, Harper 1965) as Quinn's second novel. He was once called "the master of adult excitement" or "the first real challenger to Ian Fleming." He had another peculiar series character: Charles Pol is a Marxist bandit and lingerie shop owner in Paris, France, introduced in THE TALE OF THE LAZY DOG (Blond, 1970), with three more novels featuring Pol, ending with HOLY OF HOLIES (Granada, 1981). At the age of 46, he stopped writing and drinking and began making working models of windmills and watermills to sell. He was 84. (November 10, 2020)

Rachel Caine Dies

Rachel Caine (real name: Roxanne Longstreet Conrad) died on November 01 after a long battle with soft tissue sarcoma (a rare and aggressive cancer) at a hospice in Texas. The former professional musician was writing novels in secret just for fun until her friend advised she talk to some professional writers. Her debut novel was STORMRIDERS (1990), tie-in fiction for the Shadow World role-playing game under the Roxanne Longstreet name (later reprinted as by Ian Hammel). She began using the Rachel Caine pseudonym for her urban adult fantasy series such as the Weather Warden series (ILL WIND; 2003) and the Morganville Vanpires series (THE DEAD GIRLS' DANCE; 2007). Then she wrote STILLHOUSE LAKE (Thomas & Mercer, 2017), the first in the Stillhouse Lake thriller series; nominee for the 2018 ITW Thriller Award in the paperback original category), featuring Gwen Proctor, the ex-wife of an infamous serial killer, followed by four more novels ending with HEARTBREAK BAY (to be published in 2021). She was a prolific writer with more than 50 novels and numerouus short stories until she died at 58. (November 04, 2020)