Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Edgar Nominations (Critical-Bio Category)

Well, I only predicted four books, based on the smaller number of submissions this year, but the anonymous committee that makes the Edgar nominations for best critical-biographical work went ahead and nominated five this year.  Had I done five I would have predicted Kiss the Blood off My Hands--On Classic Film Noir as well, but of the four I predicted, only two made it:

J. W. Ocker, Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe (Countryman)

Francis M. Nevins, Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film (Perfect Crime)

The other three nominated books are:

James Mancall, James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction (McFarland)

Robert Miklitsch, ed. Kiss the Blood off My Hands--On Classic Film Noir (University of Illinois)

Charles Brownson, The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis (McFarland)

I'm most surprised about the omission of the posthumously published Donald Westlake essay collection, which was really charming, I thought, and has sold well.  Was the fact that there were a lot of previously published pieces in it held against it?  In any event, it's an interesting volume from a man who knew this business down to the ground and I plan to review it soon.

My guess for the winner, as my last post indicated, would be Poe-Land.  Nevins is a two-time winner, I believe, back with another book (see my view of his Cornell Woolrich biography here) and James Ellroy is always popular with the Edgars.  But my bet with the Edgars is Mr. Poe.  Plus Poe-Land looks like a very good book, which surely can't hurt!


  1. I bet very few of the MWA members have read any of these. And I doubt few will bother to read them now that they are nominated. The Poe book does sound like something I would enjoy. I'm also going to investigate Brownson's book over at the McFarland website. Hoping the CPL will buy a copy.

    My guess: the Ellroy book will win based on name recognition and the trumping of noir and crime fiction love over any respect for the history of the genre. Ever the cynic, aren't I?

  2. Poe books are pretty formidable at the Edgars. In fact the Edgars' three favorite things, in the critical-bio category, are Poe, Doyle and hard-boiled/noir. I should have predicted the Ellroy book, I suppose, but they had never nominated an McFarland companion book before (these are basically encyclopedias). But, then, it is Ellroy!

    Kiss the Blood off My Hands is a collection of academic essays,. It would get my nomination for most affected blurb. ;)