Naomi Hirahara (fifth from left) with other winners of the 76th Edgar Awards. (Photo by Aslan Chalom)

NEW YORK — The 76th annual Edgar Awards were celebrated on April 28 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square, as well as online, with Naomi Hirahara among the winners.

Hirahara, known for the Mas Arai, Officer Ellie Rush and Leilani Santiago mystery series, received Simon & Schuster’s Mary Higgins Clark Award for “Clark and Division” (Soho Press), a historical novel set in Chicago, where many Japanese Americans resettled after being released from camp.

Also nominated were “The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet” by Katherine Cowley, “Ruby Red Herring” by Tracy Gardner, “The Sign of Death” by Callie Hhurton, and “Chapter and Curse” by Elizabeth Penney.

Hirahara previously won an Edgar for Best Paperback Original for “Snakeskin Shamisen,” the third Mas Arai mystery. The seventh and final Mas Arai mystery, “Hiroshima Boy,” was also nominated for an Edgar.

The Mary Higgins Clark Award is named for an author of suspense novels whose 51 books were all best-sellers in the U.S. and Europe. She passed away in 2020.

“What a night!” Hirahara posted on social media. “‘Clark and Division’ won a Mary Higgins Clark Award at the Edgar Awards. And my editor Juliet Grames was recognized for her service to the mystery genre with an Ellery Queen Award …

“This recognition was especially sweet because my husband was able to come, plus the subject matter of the book. Whatever will draw people to read about Japanese Americans and their post-camp travails is a positive.”

In the Best Young Adult category, nominees included June Hur for “The Forest of Stolen Girls” along with Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé for “Ace of Spades,” Pamela N. Harris for “When You Look Like Us,” and Tess Sharpe for “The Girls I’ve Been.” The award went to Angeline Boulley for “Firekeeper’s Daughter.”

Hur is the bestselling author of YA historical mysteries “The Silence of Bones” and “The Red Palace.” In addition to being nominated twice for the Edgars, she’s been featured on Forbes, NPR, KBS, and the CBC. Her fourth novel, “A Crane Among Wolves,” comes out 2024. Born in South Korea and raised in Canada, she studied history and literature at the University of Toronto. She currently lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Nominees for the best of the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2021 were announced on Jan. 19 as mystery writers celebrated the 213th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe. The Grand Master, Raven and Ellery Queen Awards were announced Jan. 12.

The Edgar Awards are judged by volunteer committees of professional writers, who dedicate many hours to the process. These peer awards are given by Mystery Writers of America. For a complete list of nominees and winners, go to: https://edgarawards.com/

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