Sam Spade. Mike Hammer. Kinsey Millhone. Some of our favorite characters have been Private Investigators. And a great way to keep up with the best in current PI stories is to follow the 2022 Shamus Awards winners and nominees.
Recently, the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) announced the winners of the 2022 Shamus Awards. The Shamus Awards go to the best private eye novels and short stories published in the United States the previous year. The PWA defines a Private Eye as a person paid to investigate crimes who is not employed by a government agency. Continue reading
Guy Toltl Kinman, Chairperson for the Shamus Awards, released the finalists for the 2021 awards. Categories include Best PI Novel, Best Original PI Paperback, Best PI Short Story, and Best First PI Novel.
The Private Eye Writers of America award the Shamus Awards for the best detective fiction genre novels and short stories of the previous year. They were first given out in 1982.
Robert J. Randisi founded the Private Eye Writers of America 1981 . According to its official mission statement, its two main goals are to support and further the private eye genre. Secondly, to elevate the PI genre from being a sub-genre of mystery to being its own genre.
They define a private eye as a private citizen who is paid to investigate crimes and not a law enforcement officer.
You can find the list of nominees here.
The Golden Age of Mystery refers to the period between World War I and World War II. In America, writers created the hard-boiled detective. They portrayed the detective, a male, usually as a loner, facing the violence and nihilism of the post-WWI world. Often cynical, tough, hard-boiled, they lived with an internal code of right and wrong. Unlike the English detective, the American private eye is from the common people. They don’t use their great minds to solve puzzles. Instead, they use hard work and a willingness to get dirty to catch their criminal, or not.
This hard-boiled detective fiction is also called noir. Because of the time period, I always think of the films as being in black-and-white.
Although Dashiell Hammett only wrote five novels, he is known as one of the pioneers of detective fiction. He brought us Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, and the Continental Op. Many of the best-selling mystery writers, including Raymond Chandler, say that they were influenced by his style and stories. Continue reading