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...And Here Are Your 2020 Edgar Award Winners!

These are the mystery books that made waves.


The results are in! On April 30th, the Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly known as the Edgar Awards. Their selections honor the best mystery stories to hit shelves in all of 2019. Have you gotten a chance to explore these acclaimed books that everyone’s been buzzing about? We’re here to catch you up to speed! 

This year’s winners include Tracy Clark’s nail-biter of a detective novel Borrowed Time, Elly Griffiths’ modern Gothic tale The Stranger Diaries, and more. With different categories ranging from “Best First Novel” to “Best Short Story,” there’s something here to suit the tastes of every kind of mystery lover. Read more about each book below to see what all the hype is about. You might even discover a new favorite!

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Best Novel

2020 edgar award winners

The Stranger Diaries

By Elly Griffiths

A high school teacher of Gothic literature, Clare Cassidy is able to find poetic beauty in dark subjects like fear and death. But when her colleague is murdered, Clare begins to fear that one of her favorite sinister tales has come to life.

Related: 11 New Mystery and Thriller Books We Can't Wait to Read This Spring 

Best First Novel By An American Author

2020 edgar award winners

Miracle Creek

By Angie Kim

In Angie Kim’s gripping debut novel, a horrific explosion kills two of the patients at a special treatment center in Virginia. It’s clear that this was no accident, and the small group of remaining patients is hiding more secrets than first meets the eye. 

Best Paperback Original

2020 edgar award winners

The Hotel Neversink

By Adam O'Fallon Price

The grand Hotel Neversink opened to great success—until a young boy disappeared within its halls. Three generations later, with the hotel coming apart at the seams, Alice Sikorsky inherits the mysterious building and sets out to discover what really happened that fateful night.

Best Fact Crime

2020 edgar award winners

The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity

By Axton Betz-Hamilton

A shocking true crime memoir: When an identity thief ruthlessly targeted Betz-Hamilton’s parents, her family became obsessed with hiding in plain sight. But the whole time, the culprit was much closer to home than they could have imagined.

Related: The Best Mystery and Thriller Books on Sale in April 

Best Critical/Biographical

Hitchcock and the Censors

Hitchcock and the Censors

By John Billheimer

Throughout Alfred Hitchcock’s career, he had to grapple with censorship boards who wished to redact indecencies in his work, both real and imagined. This study of the Master of Suspense explores the clever ways in which he managed to evade censorship and push the boundaries of filmmaking.

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Best Short Story

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

By Joyce Carol Oates

In this collection of feminist crime tales, 16 women put forth their own unique interpretations of noir. Livia Llewellyn’s "One of These Nights" is a twisty read featuring two cunning adolescent girls with a dangerous agenda up their sleeves.

Best Juvenile

2020 edgar award winners

Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse

By Susan Vaught

This book introduces young readers to Jesse, a lovable neurodiverse sleuth with a canine sidekick. When money goes missing from the school library and Jesse’s dad is considered the #1 suspect, she goes on a madcap adventure to clear his name.

Best Young Adult

2020 edgar award winners

Catfishing on CatNet

By Naomi Kritzer

Lonely teenage outsider Steph feels most at home in an online community of cat lovers. What she doesn’t know is that the site’s admin is a sentient A.I.—a fact that will come in handy when a threat from Steph’s past catches up to her.

Related: The Kids Aren’t Alright: 9 Young Adult Mystery Books 

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award

Milwaukee Noir

Milwaukee Noir

By Tim Hennessy

The seedy underbelly of Milwaukee is exposed in this collection of short fiction. Derrick Harriell’s "There's a Riot Goin' On" explores the aftermath of a racially charged protest, when a young participant explores the streets and his newfound freedom.

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award

2020 edgar award winners

The Night Visitors

By Carol Goodman

Carol Goodman’s psychological thriller takes place in Delphi, New York, where a social worker in her fifties takes in a battered woman and her precocious son. As a snowstorm worsens around them, leaving them utterly isolated, each woman reveals dark secrets from her buried past.

Related: Nero Blanc: The Perfect Crossword Puzzle Mysteries to Keep Your Sleuthing Skills Sharp While Under Quarantine 

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award

2020 edgar award winners

Borrowed Time

By Tracy Clark

When private investigator Cassandra Raines agrees to look into a suspicious death as a favor to a friend, at first she finds nothing out of sorts. However, she soon uncovers a number of puzzling coincidences about the case—an observation that may make her a killer’s next target.

Want more award-winning books? Sign up for Murder & Mayhem's newsletter and get our recommended reads delivered straight to your inbox.