The Dilys Award has been given annually since 1992 by IMBA to the mystery titles of the year which the member booksellers have most enjoyed hand selling. The Dilys Award is named in honor of Dilys Winn, the founder of the first specialty bookseller of mystery books in the United States.What a great idea -- an award that reflects enjoyment in one's chosen (and delightful!) career. It's been fun every since.
The first Dilys award was given to a Carl Hiassen's book NATIVE TONGUE (check it out here: http://www.carlhiaasen.com/books/books-native.html). It's the fourth solo book from this (still active) journalist, sardonic and funny and also a classic caper mystery -- and set in Florida. That made Hiassen's books a 180-degree change from the Florida mysteries best known before that, the ones of John D. MacDonald. That series featured Travis McGee, attempting to live quietly on his boat but pulled again and again toward resolving some crime that hurt some friend of his -- during the course of which, McGee would fall reluctantly in love once again, and somehow lose his chance at happiness. (I don't mean to sound dismissive: I read every single one of the Travis McGee books and they were marvelous escape fiction at the time. But eventually rather predictable.)
So Hiassen's sassy journalistic tongue and willingess to offend came with a fresh breeze, and mystery booksellers got a lot of pleasure out of introducing his books to those readers who'd appreciate them.
That last sentence really sums up what independent mystery booksellers do: We get to know readers, get familiar with their tastes, and point them toward titles they haven't yet read, some of which will become new favorites and bring lots of pleasure.
Below is the entire Dilys list; we'll be exploring more of the authors and titles this week, during THIS DILYS IS A DILLY!, the celebration of 20 years of the award.
Then, on Saturday October 20, Kingdom Books -- like other participating bookshops -- will give away two signed softcover copies of GHOST HERO by S. J. Rozan, the winner of the most recent Dilys Award. Join us also in welcoming author Archer Mayor, a Vermont friend of Rozan's and author of the Joe Gunther investigative series -- he'll be here at Kingdom Books at 2 pm for lively conversation around his own newest title, PARADISE CITY. We're giving away one of those, too!
BUT YOU NEED TO BE HERE TO WIN ONE OF THE THREE BOOKS! So please mark your calendar, and let Dave know you're coming (firstname.lastname@example.org) and how many books you'd like to purchase. (Hint: The holidays are coming!) Join us to celebrate both the new Joe Gunther, and this Dilly of an award.
Oh yes, Archer Mayor's books get nominated for the Dilys, time and again ... maybe this will be the year he snags this enjoyable award for Joe Gunther at last.