Bill Deverell, Louise Penny vie for crime-writing honour

Canadian crime-writing heavyweights William Deverell and Louise Penny are among the authors in the running for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Awards.

Non-fiction nominees include Fowler kidnap chronicle, Knelman art heist exploration

Acclaimed crime writer Louise Penny is once again an Arthur Ellis nominee for her latest book, A Trick of the Light. (Hachette Books)

Canadian crime-writing heavyweights William Deverell and Louise Penny are among the authors in the running for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Awards.

The Crime Writers of Canada, which administer the annual literary honour, unveiled the latest nominees in Toronto on Friday. The prize name references the pseudonym of Canada's official hangman.

Deverell is shortlisted in the best novel category for I'll See You in My Dreams, a fifth instalment of his bestselling series about wily old lawyer Arthur Beauchamp.

His competition for the prize includes Penny's A Trick of the Light, her latest tale starring the francophone homicide detective Insp. Armand Gamache. Rounding out the category are I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley, Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, and The Guilty Plea by Robert Rotenberg.

Compelling stories will vie in the non-fiction category, which includes former diplomat Robert Fowler's retelling of his time as an al-Qaeda captive (A Season in Hell) and Joshua Knelman's much-touted international art theft exploration (Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives through the Secret World of Stolen Art). Also in contention are Jay Bahadur's The Pirates of Somalia, Adrian Humphreys' The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob and Steven Laffoley's The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. 

Other Ellis nominees include:

Best short story: 

  • Catherine Astolfo, "What Kelly Did" (North Word Magazine)
  • Melodie Campbell, "The Perfect Mark" (Flash Fiction Magazine)
  • Scott Mackay, "The Girl with the Golden Hair" (Ellery Queen)
  • Shane Nelson, "Beer Money" (Ellery Queen)
  • Jas. R. Petrin, "A New Pair of Pants" (Alfred Hitchcock)

Best juvenile/young adult:

  • Becky Citra, Missing 
  • Rob Mills, Charlie's Key
  • Edeet Ravel, Held
  • Arthur Slade, Empire of Ruins
  • Tim Wynne-Jones, Blink & Caution

Best crime-writing in French:

  • Guillaume Lapierre-Desnoyers, Pour Ne Pas Mourir ce soir
  • Martin Michaud, La chorale du diable
  • Diane Vincent, Pwazon 

Best first novel:

  • Norm Foster, Watching Jeopardy
  • Ian Hamilton, The Water Rat of Wanchai
  • Fraser Nixon, The Man Who Killed
  • Sean Slater, The Survivor
  • Roger White, Tight Corner

Best unpublished first crime novel, aka the Unhanged Arthur:

  • William Bonnell, Snake in the Snow
  • Valerie A. Drego, The Rhymester
  • Madeleine Harris-Callway, Gunning for Bear
  • Shane Sawyer, Too Far to Fall
  • Sam Wiebe, Last of the Independents

The winners will be announced at a Toronto gala on May 31.