Macavity

The Macavity Award is named for the "mystery cat" of T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). Each year the members of Mystery Readers International nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in four categories.

 

Best First Mystery Novel category winners

2013 selection

Don't Ever Get Old

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2013

by Daniel Friedman

When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot. But a...


2011 selection

Rogue Island

Liam Mulligan #1

Edgar Allan Poe Award Best First Novel 2011, Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2011

by Bruce DeSilva

2011 Edgar Award Winner for Best First Novel

Liam Mulligan is as old school as a newspaper man gets. His beat is Providence, Rhode Island, and he knows every street and alley. He knows the priests and prostitutes,...


2009 selection

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Millennium #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2009, Barry Best British Novel 2009

by Stieg Larsson

An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly...


2008 selection

In the Woods

Dublin Murder Squad #1

Edgar Allan Poe Award Best First Novel 2008, Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2008, Barry Best First Novel 2008

by Tana French

A gripping thriller from New York Times bestseller and the acclaimed author of Broken Harbor and The Secret Place

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their...


2007 selection

Mr. Clarinet

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2007

by Nick Stone

There was nothing waiting for ex-cop Max Mingus when he walked out of Attica Prison after serving hard time for murder—his adored wife died in a car crash while he was locked up. Now Miami's one-time top detective...


2006 selection

Immoral

Jonathan Stride #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2006

by Brian Freeman

In a riveting debut thriller that has drawn comparisons to masters of the genre like Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, Brian Freeman weaves obsession, sex, and revenge into a story that grips the reader with...


2005 selection

Dating Dead Men: A Novel

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2005, Agatha Award for Best First Novel 2004

by Harley Jane Kozak

Los Angeles greeting-card artist Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for a radio talk show host’s upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty...


2004 selection

Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2004

by Jacqueline Winspear

10th Anniversary Edition with a special Afterword by the author

Maisie Dobbs got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon...


2002 selection

Open Season

Joe Pickett #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2002, Barry Best First Novel 2002

by C. J. Box

Joe Pickett is the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts and the game warden--especially one like Joe who won't take bribes or look the other way--is far from popular....


2001 selection

A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel

Edgar Allan Poe Award Best First Novel 2001, Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 2001, Barry Best First Novel 2001

by David Liss

THE HISTORICAL THRILLER OF THE YEAR

Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels...


1999 selection

Sympathy for the Devil

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 1999

by Jerrilyn Farmer

Madeline Bean, caterer to the stars, is in the middle of the biggest job of her career. She and her partner Wesley have pulled off Hollywood's most outrageous A-list Halloween party for notorious producer Bruno...


1995 selection

Do Unto Others

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 1995, Agatha Award for Best First Novel 1994

by Jeff Abbott

Jordan Poteet has left the big city to work as a librarian in his hometown of Mirabeau, Texas. But his dream of the quiet life is shattered when he locks horns with Miss Beta Harcher, the town's prize religious...


1994 selection

Death Comes As Epiphany

Catherine LeVendeur series #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 1994

by Sharan Newman

Catherine LeVendeur is a young scholar come to conquer her sin of pride at the Convent of the Paraclete, famous for learning, prayer, and its abbess, the fabled Heloise.

When a manuscript the convent produced...


1991 selection

Postmortem

Kay Scarpetta #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 1991, Edgar Allan Poe Award Best First Novel 1991

by Patricia Cornwell

Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign...


1988 selection

The Monkey's Raincoat

Elvis Cole & Joe Pike #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 1988

by Robert Crais

Taking the mystery community by storm, this Elvis Cole novel was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards and won both the Anthony and Macavity for Best Novel of the Year. 

From the Paperback...


1987 selection

The Ritual Bath

Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus #1

Macavity Best First Mystery Novel 1987

by Faye Kellerman

Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is stunned when he gets the report. Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime. One of the women was...


Best Mystery Novel category winners

2013 selection

The Beautiful Mystery

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2013, Agatha Award for Best Novel 2012

by Louise Penny

The brilliant new novel in the New York Times bestselling series by Louise Penny, one of the most acclaimed crime writers of our time  No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups,...


2012 selection

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Claire DeWitt #1

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2012

by Sara Gran

In the first of a new mystery series featuring quirky private investigator Claire DeWitt, Claire investigates the disappearance of a top prosecutor in post-Katrina New Orleans.


2011 selection

Bury Your Dead

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2011, Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel 2011, Agatha Award for Best Novel 2010

by Louise Penny

It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But...


2009 selection

Where Memories Lie

Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James #12

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2009

by Deborah Crombie

A lifetime ago, Erika Rosenthal and her late husband, David, fled to England to escape the Nazis—which is all Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Gemma James truly knows about her secretive friend's past. But...


2008 selection

What the Dead Know

Anthony Best Novel 2008, Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2008, Barry Best Novel 2008

by Laura Lippman

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or...


2007 selection

The Virgin of Small Plains: A Novel

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2007, Agatha Award for Best Novel 2006

by Nancy Pickard

Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father’s pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery:...


2006 selection

The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel

Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer #1

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2006, Shamus Best P.I. Hardcover 2006

by Michael Connelly, Big Kenny & Allen Rucker

This #1 bestselling legal thriller from Michael Connelly is a stunning display of novelistic mastery - as human, as gripping, and as whiplash-surprising as any novel yet from the writer Publishers Weekly has...


2005 selection

The Killing of the Tinkers

Jack Taylor #2

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2005

by Ken Bruen

When Jack Taylor blew town at the end of The Guards his alcoholism was a distant memory and sober dreams of a new life in London were shining in his eyes. In the opening pages of The Killing of the Tinkers,...


2004 selection

The House Sitter: A Peter Diamond Investigation

Peter Diamond #8

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2004

by Peter Lovesey

The corpse of a beautiful woman, clad in only a bathing suit, is found strangled to death on a popular Sussex beach. When she is finally identified, it turns out she was a top profiler for the National Crime...


2003 selection

Winter and Night

Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #8

Edgar Allan Poe Award Best novel 2003, Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2003

by S. J. Rozan

From the critically acclaimed, award-winning S. J. Rozan comes her finest novel to date - an explosive novel about the corrosive power of secrets and corruption in a small town.

In the middle of the night, private...


2002 selection

Folly

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2002

by Laurie R. King

An acclaimed master of suspense creates a heroine you will never forget in this superbly chilling novel of a woman who begins a desperate undertaking that may transform her life -- or end it.

What happens if...


2001 selection

A Place of Execution

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 2001, Barry Best British Novel 2000

by Val McDermid

Winter 1963: two children have disappeared off the streets of Manchester; the murderous careers of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady have begun. On a freezlng day in December, another child goes missing: thirteen-year-old...


1999 selection

Blood Work

Terry McCaleb #1

Anthony Best Novel 1999, Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1999

by Michael Connelly

New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly presents his most ambitious, most gripping achievement to date--a novel of masterly suspense and righteous obsession that will never let you go.

When Graciella...


1998 selection

Dreaming of the Bones

Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James #5

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1998

by Deborah Crombie

It is the call Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid never expected -- and one he certainly doesn't want. Victoria, his ex-wife, who walked out without an explanation more than a decade ago, asks him to...


1997 selection

Bloodhounds: A Peter Diamond Investigation

Peter Diamond #4

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1997, Barry Best Novel 1997

by Peter Lovesey

A rare stamp and a corpse are discovered in Bath within hours of each other. As he investigates, Inspector Peter Diamond discovers that both the person who found the stamp and the victim belong to the Bloodhounds,...


1992 selection

I.O.U.

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1992

by Pickard

The layered plot of the latest in the excellent Jenny Cain series (SAY NO TO MURDER) finds the Port Frederick, Mass., sleuth probing the cause of her recently deceased mother's insanity. Cain discovers that...


1990 selection

A Little Class on Murder

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1990

by Carolyn G. Hart

When mystery bookstore owner Annie Laurance is invited to teach "The Three Great Ladies of the Mystery" class at Chastain Community College, the sometime sleuth discovers that all is not strictly academic in...


1989 selection

A Thief of Time

Navajo Mysteries #8

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1989

by Tony Hillerman

At a moonlit Indian ruin—where "thieves of time" ravage sacred ground in the name of profit—a noted anthropologist vanishes while on the verge of making a startling, history-altering discovery. At an ancient...


1988 selection

Marriage Is Murder

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1988

by Nancy Pickard

A Simon & Schuster eBook. Simon & Schuster has a great book for every reader.


1987 selection

A Taste For Death

Adam Dalgliesh #7

Macavity Best Mystery Novel 1987

by P.D. James

When the quiet Little Vestry of St. Matthew's Church becomes the blood-soaked scene of a double murder, Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh faces an intriguing conundrum: How did an upper-crust Minister come...


Best Mystery Short Story category winners

Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction category winners

2013 selection

Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels

Macavity Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction 2013, Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction 2012

by John Connolly & Declan Burke

The world’s greatest mystery writers on the world’s greatest mystery novels:

Michael Connelly on The Little Sister . . .

Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs . . .

Mark Billingham on The Maltese Falcon...


2012 selection

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

Macavity Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction 2012

by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris has topped the bestseller charts and become a nationwide phenomenon, thanks to the unconventional, and otherworldly, life of Sookie Stackhouse. Now take a closer look at Sookie and at her family,...


2011 selection

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks

Macavity Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction 2011, Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction 2010

by John Curran

A fascinating exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie's seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories

When Agatha Christie died in 1976, at age eighty-five,...