Left Coast Crime



History of the Left Coast Crime Awards

Beginning in 2016, all Left Coast Crime Awards are called “Lefty” Awards. Traditionally, the “Lefty” — first awarded in 1996 — was given for the best humorous mystery. LCC rules now require each annual convention to give Lefty awards for best Humorous, Historical (Bruce Alexander Memorial, first given in 2004), and Debut mysteries. In addition, each convention can give one “wildcard” award.

Wildcard awards have been given in a variety of categories, such as for the best mystery set in the LCC geographical region, and variously named depending on the convention location: e.g., the Otter (Monterey 2004), the Calavera (El Paso 2005), the Rocky (Denver 2008 & Colorado Springs 2013), and the Rose (Portland 2015). Other varieties of geographically-based awards include the Hillerman Sky (Southwest settings, Santa Fe 2011), the Golden Nugget (California setting, Sacramento 2012), and the Squid (US) and the Calamari (non-US) (Monterey 2014).

Awards given for best debut mystery include the Eureka! (Sacramento 2012) and the Rosebud (Portland 2015). Other awards include the Watson, for the mystery with the best sidekick (Santa Fe 2011 & Colorado Springs 2013), and the Hawaii Five-O, for best law enforcement or police procedural (Waikoloa, Hawaii 2009). The Panik award was given in memory of Paul Anik for best LA noir (Los Angeles 2010). Cover art was recognized with the Arty (Denver 2008).

The design of the annual Lefty award is left to the discretion of each host Left Coast Crime committee.


2016: Phoenix, Arizona

Best Humorous Mystery
  * Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews
  °  Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron
  °  February Fever by Jess Lourey
  °  Dying for a Donut by Cindy Sample
  °  Crushed Velvet by Diane Vallere

Best Historical Mystery
(Bruce Alexander Memorial, covering events before 1960)
  * Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen
  °  The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins
  °  The Chocolate Kiss-Off by Heather Haven
  °  The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe
  °  Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King
  °  Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal

Best LCC Regional Mystery
(best mystery set in the LCC region)
  * The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian
  °  The Crossing by Michael Connelly
  °  Night Tremors by Matt Coyle
  °  The Promise by Robert Crais
  °  Young Americans by Josh Stallings

Best World Mystery
(set anywhere outside the LCC region)
  * The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
  °  The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
  °  Dragon Day by Lisa Brackmann
  °  The Killing Kind by Chris Holm
  °  Stone Cold Dead by James W. Ziskin

2015: Portland, Oregon

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Herbie’s Game by Timothy Hallinan
  °  The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews
  °  January Thaw by Jess Lourey
  °  Dying for a Dude by Cindy Sample
  °  Suede to Rest by Diane Vallere

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1960)
  * A Deadly Measure of Brimstone by Catriona McPherson
  °  Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
  °  From the Charred Remains by Susanna Calkins
  °  City of Ghosts by Kelli Stanley
  °  Cup of Blood by Jeri Westerson

The Rose
(best mystery set in the LCC region)
  * Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian
  °  One Kick by Chelsea Cain
  °  Glass Houses by Terri Nolan
  °  Deadly Bonds by L.J. Sellers
  °  Plaster City by Johnny Shaw

The Rosebud
(best debut mystery)
  * The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
  °  Kilmoon by Lisa Alber
  °  Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley
  °  The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day
  °  Mistress of Fortune by Holly West

2014: Monterey, California

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * The Good Cop by Brad Parks
  °  The Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews
  °  The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan
  °  The Last Word by Lisa Lutz
  °  Dying for a Daiquiri by Cindy Sample

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(best historical mystery, covering events before 1960)
  * Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses by Catriona McPherson
  °  Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen
  °  His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal
  °  Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
  °  Covenant with Hell by Priscilla Royal
  °  Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

The Squid
(best mystery set within the United States)
  * Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  °  W Is for Wasted by Sue Grafton
  °  Purgatory Key by Darrell James
  °  The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  °  A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames

The Calamari
(best mystery set anywhere else in the world)
  * How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  °  Murder Below Montparnasse by Cara Black
  °  Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann
  °  As She Left It by Catriona McPherson
  °  Mykonos After Midnight by Jeffrey Siger

2013: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * The Girl Next Door by Brad Parks
  °  Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder by Mike Befeler
  °  Swift Run by Laura DiSilverio
  °  December Dread by Jess Lourey
  °  Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  °  Fit to Be Dead by Nancy G. West

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1960)
  * Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder by Catriona McPherson
  °  The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
  °  A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell
  °  Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
  °  Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

Rocky Award
(best mystery set in the LCC region)
  * As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson
  °  Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now by Margaret Coel
  °  Hush Money by Chuck Greaves
  °  Wicked Eddies by Beth Groundwater
  °  Sonora Crossing by Darrell James

Watson Award
(mystery novel with best sidekick)
  * Bruja Brouhaha by Rochelle Staab
  °  In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell
  °  Taken by Robert Crais
  °  Fun House by Chris Grabenstein
  °  When the Past Haunts You by L.C. Hayden

2012: Sacramento, California

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews
  °  Getting Old Can Kill You by Rita Lakin
  °  October Fest by Jess Lourey
  °  Magical Alienation by Kris Neri
  °  Dying for a Dance by Cindy Sample
  °  The Albuquerque Turkey by John Vorhaus

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(for best historical mystery, covering events before 1960)
  * Mercury’s Rise by Ann Parker
  °  Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
  °  A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell
  °  A Killing Season by Priscilla Royal
  °  Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson
  °  A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Golden Nugget Award
(for best mystery set in California)
  * City of Secrets by Kelli Stanley
  °  Disturbance by Jan Burke
  °  The Drop by Michael Connelly
  °  Bit Player by Janet Dawson
  °  V Is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

Eureka! Award
(for best first mystery)
  * Nazareth Child by Darrell James
  °  The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper by Sally Carpenter
  °  Dead Man’s Switch by Tammy Kaehler
  °  Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab

Sacramento Awards

2011: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein by J. Michael Orenduff
  °  Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews
  °  Swift Justice by Laura DiSilverio
  °  Old Dogs by Donna Moore
  °  Revenge for Old Times’ Sake by Kris Neri

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1950)
  * The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
  °  A Night of Long Knives by Rebecca Cantrell
  °  Murder for Greenhorns by Robert Kresge
  °  City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley
  °  The Demon’s Parchment by Jeri Westerson

Hillerman Sky Award
(mystery that best captures the landscape of the Southwest)
  * The Spider’s Web by Margaret Coel
  °  Wild Penance by Sandi Ault
  °  The Bone Fire by Christine Barber
  °  Snare by Deborah J Ledford

Watson Award
(mystery novel with best sidekick)
  * Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson
  °  Wild Penance by Sandi Ault
  °  Dead Lift by Rachel Brady
  °  Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein
  °  To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn

Santa Fe Awards

2010: Los Angeles, California

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Getting Old Is a Disaster by Rita Lakin
  °  Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
  °  Living with Your Kids Is Murder by Mike Befeler
  °  Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread by Denise Dietz
  °  High Crimes on the Magical Plane by Kris Neri

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1950)
  * A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
  °  Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander
  °  In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen
  °  Freedom’s Flight by Gary Phillips
  °  Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson

The Panik
(in honor of the late Paul Anik for the best Los Angeles Noir)
  * Death Was in the Picture by Linda Richards
  °  Cemetery Road by Gar Anthony Haywood
  °  Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz
  °  Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz

2009: Waikoloa, Hawaii

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Greasing the Piñata by Tim Maleeny
  °  Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews
  °  It Happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen
  °  Thugs & Kisses by Sue Ann Jaffarian
  °  Murder at the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill by N.M. Kelby
  °  Getting Old Is To Die For by Rita Lakin

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1950)
  * Nox Dormienda, A Long Night for Sleeping by Kelli Stanley
  °  A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander
  °  A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
  °  Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen
  °  Touchstone by Laurie R. King

Hawaii Five-O
(law enforcement, police procedural)
  * Mahu Fire by Neil S. Plakcy
  °  Angels Fall by Baron Birtcher
  °  The Angel of Knowlton Park by Kate Flora
  °  The Black Path by Åsa Larsson
  °  Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet
  °  Fractured by Karin Slaughter

2008: Denver, Colorado

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Murder with Reservations by Elaine Viets
  °  The Penguin Who Knew Too Much by Donna Andrews
  °  Stuff To Die For by Don Bruns
  °  Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen
  °  Knee High by the Fourth of July by Jess Lourey

Rocky Award
(best mystery set in the LCC region)
  * The Girl with Braided Hair by Margaret Coel
  °  Free Fire by C.J. Box
  °  Lost Dog by Bill Cameron
  °  Stealing the Dragon by Tim Maleeny
  °  False Fortune by Twist Phelan

Arty Award
(best cover art)
  * Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
  °  Queenpin by Megan Abbott
  °  Isabella Moon by Laura Benedict
  °  Silent Counsel by Ken Isaacson
  °  Stealing the Dragon by Tim Maleeny

2007: Seattle, Washington

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Go to Helena Handbasket by Donna Moore
  °  No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews
  °  Monkey Man by Steve Brewer
  °  47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook
  °  Murder Unleashed by Elaine Viets

2006: Bristol, UK

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Cast Adrift by Peter Guttridge
  °  Cue the Easter Bunny by Liz Evans
  °  The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
  °  Highway 61 Resurfaced by Bill Fitzhugh
  °  Fags and Lager by Charlie Williams

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1950)
  * Spectres in the Smoke by Tony Broadbent
  °  Night’s Child by Maureen Jennings
  °  Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

2005: El Paso, Texas

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * We’ll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews (tie)
  * Blue Blood by Susan McBride (tie)
  °  Carnage on the Committee by Ruth Dudley Edwards
  °  Holy Guacamole by Nancy Fairbanks
  °  Perfect Sax by Jerrilyn Farmer

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1950)
  * The Witch in the Well by Sharan Newman
  °  Five for Silver by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer
  °  Tyrant of the Mind by Priscilla Royal
  °  Murder on Marble Row by Victoria Thompson
  °  Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

Calavera Award
(best mystery set in the LCC region)
  * Grave Endings by Rochelle Krich
  °  Snap Shot by Meg Chittenden
  °  Shadow Play by David Cole
  °  What Others Know by L.C. Hayden
  °  Family Claims by Twist Phelan

2004: Monterey, California

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Mumbo Gumbo by Jerrilyn Farmer
  °  Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews
  °  Shop Till You Drop by Elaine Viets

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award
(historical mystery, covering events before 1950)
  * For the Love of Mike by Rhys Bowen
  °  Silver Lies by Ann Parker
  °  Four for a Boy by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer

Otter Award
(best mystery set in the LCC region)
  * More Than You Know by Meg Chittenden
  °  Dragonfly Bones by David Cole
  °  Murder Pans Out by Emily Toll

2003: Pasadena, California

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * The Hearse Case Scenario by Tim Cockey (tie)
  * Pipsqueak by Brian M. Wiprud (tie)
  °  Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
  °  This Pen for Hire by Laura Levine
  °  The Rival Queens by Fidelis Morgan
  °  Buck Fever by Ben Rehder

2002: Portland, Oregon

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer (tie)
  * Fender Benders by Bill Fitzhugh (tie)
  °  Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews
  °  Murder Can Upset Your Mother by Selma Eichler
  °  Long Time No See by Susan Isaacs

2001: Anchorage, Alaska
No Award Given

2000: Tucson, Arizona

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews
  °  Big Trouble by Dave Barry
  °  High Five by Janet Evanovich
  °  Immaculate Reception by Jerrilyn Farmer
  °  Murder Shoots the Bull by Anne George

1999: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

1998: San Diego, California

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
  °  Dead Men Don’t Dance by Margaret Chittenden
  °  Scam by Parnell Hall
  •  I Still Miss My Man But My Aim Is Getting Better by Sarah Shankman
  °  The Death and Life of Bobby Z by Don Winslow

1997: Seattle, Washington
No Award Given

1996: Boulder, Colorado

Lefty Award for Most Humorous Mystery
  * The Fat Innkeeper by Alan Russell
  °  God Bless John Wayne by Kinky Friedman
  °  Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca? by G.M. Ford
  °  Movie by Parnell Hall
  °  Miracles in Maggody by Joan Hess
  °  If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharan McCrumb

 

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