2019 Edgar Award Winners Are Must-Reads For Anyone Who Loves Mystery Novels & True Crime

On Thursday evening, the Mystery Writers of America announced the 2019 Edgar Award winners — the best of the best in mystery writing and television. I've got the nine best crime fiction and nonfiction of 2018, according to the Edgar Awards, for you below.

Since 1946, the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Awards have honored the best in crime fiction and nonfiction across entertainment media. In the 1940s and 1950s, Edgar Awards were regularly given to radio dramas like The Adventures of Sam Spade and Dragnet. Today, the awards honor episodes in TV series like Fargo and The Romanoffs.

This year's non-book Edgar Award winners are:

  • Best Short Story: "English 398: Fiction Workshop" by Art Taylor
  • Best Television Episode Teleplay: "The One That Holds Everything" from The Romanoffs
  • Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: "How Does He Die This Time?" by Nancy Novick
  • Grand Master: Martin Cruz Smith
  • Raven Award: Marilyn Sasio
  • Ellery Queen Award: Linda Landrigan

Mystery and thriller fans obviously can't wait to find out which books won the Edgar Awards this year. If you aren't one of the genre's biggest readers, you can use this year's winners to guide your first foray into the wide world of mystery reading. No matter where you fall on the thriller-fan spectrum, you should also check out the 2019 Edgar Award nominees for more edge-of-your-seat fun.

Best Novel: 'Down the River Unto the Sea' by Walter Mosley

A former NYPD detective who spent years in Riker's Island for a sexual assault he did not commit, protagonist King now works as a private investigator. When a letter arrives from the woman who claimed he hurt her, however, King has the opportunity to investigate the truth behind his time in prison, and find out who wanted him put away for good.

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel were:

  • The Liar's Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard
  • House Witness by Mike Lawson
  • A Gambler's Jury by Victor Methos
  • Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne
  • A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

Best First Novel by an American Author: 'Bearskin' by James A. McLaughlin

On the run from Mexican drug cartels, Rice thinks he's finally found refuge working in a Virginian forest preserve. When the local bear population begins to suffer catastrophic losses, Rice must team up with the scientist who once held his job in order to solve the mystery of the animals' deaths.

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author were:

  • A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper
  • The Captives by Debra Jo Immergut
  • The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Best Paperback Original: 'If I Die Tonight' by Alison Gaylin

In the aftermath of a terrible incident, not all is as it seems. Aimee, a former pop star, claims that a local teenage pariah named Wade stole her car and ran over another teen, Liam, who is now in critical condition. Wade isn't talking, and Liam isn't out of the woods just yet, but who is really responsible for his injuries?

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original were:

  • Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara
  • Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day
  • The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
  • Under My Skin by Lisa Unger

Best Fact Crime: 'Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation' by Robert W. Fieseler

In 1973, a prominent New Orleans gay bar caught fire in a tragic event that killed 32 people before the flames were put out. In this true-crime chronicle, Robert W. Fieseler examines the importance of the fire at the Up Stairs Lounge within the context of the burgeoning gay liberation movement.

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime were:

  • Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood, and Betrayal by Jonathan Green
  • The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure by Carl Hoffman
  • The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson
  • I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  • The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World's Most Powerful Mafia by Alex Perry

Best Critical/Biographical: 'Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s' by Leslie S. Klinger

This collection of crime fiction contains the influential stories that brought detectives and mysteries into the 20th century. Including stories about Charlie Chan, Philo Vance, and others, this is the perfect book for a longtime mystery reader interested in the genre's modern roots.

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical were:

  • The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton: A Critical Study of the Father Brown Stories and Other Detective Fiction by Laird R. Blackwell
  • Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin
  • Mark X: Who Killed Huck Finn's Father? by Yasuhiro Takeuchi
  • Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson

Best Juvenile: 'Otherwood' by Pete Hautman

A tale of class and prejudice, Otherwood centers on Stuey and Elly Rose, two nine-year-old best friends, who find themselves carrying on a legacy of enmity that began long before they were born.

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile were:

  • Denis Ever After by Tony Abbott
  • Zap! by Martha Freeman
  • Ra the Mighty: Cat Detective by A.B. Greenfield
  • Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
  • Charlie & Frog: A Mystery by Karen Kane
  • Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon

Best Young Adult: 'Sadie' by Courtney Summers

A thoroughly contemporary take on crime fiction, Sadie combines true-crime podcasting with a mystery-solving amateur detective. The novel's eponymous heroine is on the road, looking for her kid sister's killer. Meanwhile, a podcast host obsessed with her story has begun tracking her progress on his show.

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The nominees for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult were:

  • Contagion by Erin Bowman
  • Blink by Sasha Dawn
  • After the Fire by Will Hill
  • A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award: 'The Widows of Malabar Hill' by Sujata Massey

When three secluded wives are left widowed by their husband's death, Perveen — fresh out of law school and new to her father's practice — is tasked with handling their affairs. All three women have forfeited their inheritances, in a move that will leave them with nothing in the world to rely on. It's up to Perveen to figure out what happened to their husband and their fortunes.

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The 2019 Edgar Award nominees for the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award were:

  • A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks
  • A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman
  • Bone on Bone by Julia Keller
  • A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

The G.P. Putnam's Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Awards: 'Shell Game' by Sara Paretsky

The 19th entry in Sara Paretsky's series of V.I. Warshawski novels, Shell Game follows Warshawski as he tries to exonerate an old friend's nephew, who is the prime suspect in a murder with ties to international criminal organizations.

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The 2019 Edgar Award nominees for the G.P. Putnam's Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award were:

  • Perish by Lisa Black
  • City of Secrets by Victoria Thompson
  • A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd
  • To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear