Award Nominees and Winners

Each year, the mystery community celebrates with Best of awards to authors for books published the previous year. Major mystery conferences and other venues have varying selection criteria and categories leading to a slew of opportunities for Desert Sleuths to be nominated and win.

In 2024, we added this page to recognize Desert Sleuths nominees and winners. At the end of each competition, we will update the list to note the winners. If you are elibible to nominate and/or vote in any of these, please keep your Desert Sleuths siblings in mind.

2024 Desert Sleuths Nominees and Winners

“Lefty” Award, Left Coast Crime (LCC): Bellevue, WA, April 11-14, 2024.

The “Lefty” Awards are fan awards chosen by registered members of the Left Coast Crime conventions.  LCC members have already received the nomination forms and can nominate any Desert Sleuth with a book published in 2023 from the list below.

1/15/24: “Lefty” Award nominees are below. There are no Desert Sleuths in any category.

  • Best Humorous Mystery Novel
      • Jennifer J. Chow, Hot Pot Murder (Berkely Prime Crime)
      • Lee Matthew Goldberg, The Great Gimmelmans (Level Best Books)
      • Leslie Karst, A Sense for Murder (Severn House)
      • Catriona McPherson, Hop Scot (Severn House)
      • Cindy Sample, Dying for a Decoration (Cindy Sample Books)
      • Wendall Thomas, Cheap Trills (Beyond the Page Books)
  • Best Historical Mystery Novel for books covering events before 1970 (the Bill Gottfried Memorial)
      • Cara Black, Night Flight to Paris (Soho Crime)
      • Bruce Borgos, The Bitter Past (Minotaur Books)
      • Susanna Calkins, Death Among the Ruins (Severn House)
      • Dianne Freeman, A Newlywed’s Guide to Fortune and Murder (Kensington)
      • Cheryl A. Head, Time’s Undoing (Dutton)
      • Naomi Hirahara, Evergreen (Soho Crime)
  • Best Mystery Novel
      • Tracy Clark, Hide (Thomas & Mercer)
      • S.A. Cosby, All the Sinners Bleed (Flatiron Books)
      • Matt Coyle, Odyssey’s End (Oceanview Publishing)
      • Jordan Harper, Everybody Knows (Mullholland Books)
      • James L’Etoile, Face of Greed (Oceanview Publishing)
      • Gigi Pandian, The Raven Thief (Minotaur Books)
  • Best Debut Mystery Novel
      • Lina Chern, Play the Foot (Bantam)
      • Margot Douaihy, Scorched Grace (Gillian Flynn Books)
      • Josh Pachter, Dutch Threat (Genius Book Publishing)
      • Ana Reyes, The House in the Pines (Dutton)
      • Nina Simon, Mother-Daugher Murder Night (William Morrow)

We will update this list with the Desert Sleuths finalists after they’re announced on January 15th. Winners will be noted after they are voted on and announced at Left Coast Crime on April 13, 2024.


Derringer Awards: by the Short Mystery Fiction Society

The Short Mystery Fiction Society (SMFS) awards the annual Derringers—named after the popular pocket pistol—to outstanding published stories and individuals / persons / writers who have greatly advanced or supported the form. SMFS members can nominate and vote on the stories in each category.

Derringer nominations are due by Tuesday, January 30th! Finalists will be announced on April 1, 2024, and added to this list shortly after. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2024 and the Derringer Awards presented at Bouchercon 2024 (August 28 – September 1, 2024).

The 2024 DS Nominee Finalists are: (to be posted after they’re announced on 4/1/24)

  • Best Flash Story (up to 1,000 words)
  • Best Short Story (up to 1,001 – 4,000 words)
  • Best Long Short Story (4,001 – 8,000 words)
  • Best Novelette (8,001 – 20,000 words)
  • Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer

This award may be presented to someone for Lifetime Achievement in the short mystery story field. The Goden Derringer is not necessarily awarded each year.

We will update this list to mark any DS winners after they are announced on the SMFS Blog (5/1/24).


We’ll add more awards as the various conventions and programs announce them.