Jason Goodwin's The Janissary Tree, a debut set in the declining days of the Ottoman Empire and featuring a eunuch-sleuth has reaped the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel of the year. It was one of a dozen presented in New York by Mystery Writers of America. The Edgars are the US's top honors in the field of crime fiction and nonfiction.
Other finalists for best novel were Louis Bayard's The Pale Blue Eye (HarperCollins), Joanne Harris' Gentlemen & Player (Morrow), Denise Mina's The Dead Hour (Little, Brown), Nancy Pickard's The Virgin of Small Plains (Ballantine) and Olen Steinhauer's Liberation Movements (St. Martin's Minotaur).
The other Edgar winners included:
• Best first novel by an American author: The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House).
• Best paperback original: Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara (Delta).
• Best fact crime: Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (Morrow).
• Best critical/biographical: The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear by E.J. Wagner (Wiley).
• Best short story: The Home Front by Charles Ardai, published in the anthology Death Do Us Part (Little Brown). Alvin-based Bill Crider was a nominee in this category for his story Cranked.
• Best juvenile: Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers).
• Best young adult: Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready (Dutton).
• Best motion picture screenplay: The Departed, screenplay by William Monahan (Warner Bros. Pictures).