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Monday, May 16, 2011

Non-fiction Agatha Award and Nominees

The winner of the Agatha for non-fiction was Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks 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exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie’s seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories.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, she had become the world’s most popular author. With sales of more than two billion copies worldwide, in more than one hundred countries, she had achieved the impossible — more than one book every year since the 1920s, every one a bestseller."

Sherlock Holmes for Dummies by David Crowder was nominated too.  This is perhaps the first "Dummies" book I have seen nominated for an award!  I had seen this book before and wondered if it was worthwhile.  I think the nomination answered that question.  It also got me interested in other nonfiction books related to the mystery genre.  

Another nominee was Have Faith in Your Kitchen by Katherine Hall Page.  I had done a post on Mystery Cookbooks last year and thought this would be of interest.  This "is the long-awaited collection of recipes from Katherine Hall Page’s famous series of novels starring Faith Fairchild — caterer, wife, traveler, and detective.  Here fans can find in one convenient volume the recipes that have spiced the Fairchild mysteries and provided them with their acute and varied sense of place. In addition, the author has provided a brace of warm-hearted and illuminating personal essays on cooking, locales, and the craft of writing."

But of the nonfiction nominees the one I am most interested in is Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang.

"On a balmy July night in 1904, a wiry figure sauntered alone through the dim alleys of Honolulu’s Chinatown. He strolled up a set of rickety steps and into a smoky gambling den ringing with jeers of card sharks and crapshooters. By the time anyone recognized the infamous bullwhip dangling from his hand, it was too late. Single-handedly, the feared, five-foot-tall Hawaiian cop, Chang Apana, had lined up forty gamblers and marched them down to the police station.

Himself a literary sleuth, Huang has traced Charlie Chan’s evolution from island legend to pop culture icon to vilified, postmodern symbol, ingeniously juxtaposing Apana’s rough-and-tumble career against the larger backdrop of a territorial Hawaii torn apart by virulent racism." Well, this is definitely going on my wish list!!

I found a video of the author discussing the Charlie Chan book, but it can not be embedded for me to include.  Please go here to view this video.

I have not paid much attention to non-fiction books related to the mystery genre but the Agatha Award nonfiction nominations grabbed my attention this time around.  Now I wonder what I have been missing.

Perhaps you know of some interesting books to include in this listing.  Please share!

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