Agatha Awards - An award which is given out by a group called Malice Domestic which meets in Washington D.C. -ish area around the end of every April since 1989. The Agatha and Malice Domestic celebrate traditional mysteries as written by Christie and others of her ilk (think the other three Queens of Crime). But mainly they must not feature explicit sex or excessive/gratuitous violence.
It should be noted that this is their only parameter, well other than if it could be called hard-boiled, then it is not for them. Which is important to note- because the themed cozies are not the only books nominated or have won an Agatha! They give the standard awards for Best Contemporary Novel, Best Historical Novel, Best First Novel, Best Nonfiction, Best Short Story, Best Children’s/Young Adult and a Lifetime Achievement Award. However it their irregular awards and Malice Remembers which are very interesting!
The Poirot is an award given out to non-writers who have made significant contributions to the Malice Domestic genera and of course the first winner was David Suchet - for his portrayal of Poirot! Another winner who I love was Angela Lansbury for Murder She Wrote!
But it is the Malice "Remembers" category (non-award but celebrated by the group) which is the most interesting! The usual suspects you would expect are on the list Agatha Christie (twice), Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman, Craig Rice, Georgette Heyer, Ellis Peters and Rex Stout to name a few. However they also have been a bit exotic in their choices - as when they remembered Edgar Allan Poe. While he is considered the father of detective fiction - if you take his work as a whole, as the term "remembers" implies, may not fit within the groups' parameters. While sex does not play into his stories, violence does - like The Pit And The Pendulum or The Mask Of Red Red Death. Brilliant writing we agree but lacking in excessive/gratuitous violence - not so much.
Another exotic choice was the year they "Remembered" William Shakespeare, who once again we agree is brilliant - a man who served as great inspiration to Agatha Christie's writing - but if you take his works as a whole does he fit with their theme? We aren't so sure - just like Poe there is no shortage of violence - like the Senators running through the streets coated with Julius Caesars blood (after stabbing him to death on stage) or Othello strangling Desdemona . While we understand the character's motivations (Shakespeare's gift) the plays leanings towards violence should not be ignored. Then there's the sex. Depending on the interpretation of actors or directors (and decency laws) you can have a rather skin filled night in the theater - and while we agree Shakespeare is not responsible for every acting choice - he did add the ambiguity of interpretation to his plays. So based on these two reasons - we can't quite agree with his inclusion in this category.
While we love these writers they do prompt a great debate on their inclusion which made the Saturday this was written very interesting as booksellers and customers weighed in on the discussion!
2016 Agatha Winners included: