Elsa Hart of St. Louis was honored April 29 by the Mystery Writers of America.
Her 2020 novel, "The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne," won the Mary Higgins Clark Award, which goes to a novel that mostly eschews violence and features an independent and "nice young woman whose life is suddenly invaded." Hart's novel is set in 18th-century England among a group of artifact collectors, one of whom is stabbed in his own house.
She's previously written a set of novels featuring a 18th-century Chinese librarian/amateur investigator. Her first novel, "Jade Dragon Mountain," was published in 2015, when Hart was 30.
Nominees for the mystery prize, sponsored by publisher Simon & Schuster, also included "Death of an American Beauty" by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur Books); "The Lucky One" by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins); "The First to Lie" by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books); and "Cold Wind" by Paige Shelton (Minotaur Books).
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