I continue to work on the Edgar Awards…. the Best First Novel category. Well, I am embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t know who Richard L. Fish is…. other than I know that there is a special Edgar Award which is given every year in his name. Well, imagine my surprise this afternoon when I discovered that he won the Best First Novel in 1963 (for a novel called The Fugitive.) He wrote many other books…. as Richard L. Fish and Robert L. Pike. Aha! Now I know….
And, I have to admit that there are many other names who don’t mean a thing to me on those lists. But, when I stumble on the names of authors who I do "follow" now….from years ago, I am gently surprised about the ebb of time… I don’t even remember a time when these authors were not in my repertoire of authors…. but, doing the Best FIRST Novel category…. I am reminded that they weren’t always best selling authors.
Dell Shannon (Case Pending) won the Best First Novel in 1961… now I know I wasn’t reading mysteries back then… no matter how cozy they were! And how about 1965’s roster of Best First Novel authors…. Harry Kemelman (Friday the Rabi Slept Late) and Amanda Cross (In the Last Analysis.) Tony Hillerman (The Blessing Way) in 1971, and The Thomas Berryman Numbers introduced James Patterson in 1977. A few years later, another Patterson came into the mystery book world with his first novel… In 1980, Richard North Patterson won the Best First Novel for The Lasko Tangent. Five years later, Jane Haddam/Orania Papazoglou was nominated for her Sweet, Savage Death.
I have enjoyed seeing when different authors "pop up" on some of these award lists. It is always interesting to see how a first best novel leads to later best novels, and in some of the authors’ cases… many best novel awards.