By Mary Ann Grossmann, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Published May 05 2014
Minn.’s Krueger wins mystery writers awardST. PAUL – William Kent Krueger’s “Ordinary Grace” has won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best novel.
This is the St. Paul author’s second honor of the year; in April he won his fifth Minnesota Book Award for his Cork O’Connor mystery “Tamarack County.”
“Ordinary Grace” is not part of Krueger’s popular O’Connor series. It’s about 13-year-old Frank, growing up in New Bremen, Minn., in 1961. When he and his brother find a body near the river, suspicion falls on the Indian uncle of one of their friends. When Frank’s family is devastated by tragedy, he watches his parents grow apart. His father, a pastor, turns to God while his high-strung mother becomes alienated from the church.
Krueger, who lives in St. Paul, was surprised when “Ordinary Grace” was nominated for an Edgar because he doesn’t consider it a mystery. He said when the book was published last year that writing it allowed him to explore his interest in character, setting, atmosphere and language “without worrying about the tight plotting necessary for mysteries.”
Krueger’s rise to writing national best-sellers began in 1998, when he sold his first O’Connor mystery, “Iron Lake,” after writing every morning for 15 years at the St. Clair Broiler on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul.
Three years later, Krueger sold his third O’Connor book and quit his day job as an administrator at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development to devote full time to writing.
The Edgar Allan Poe awards, which honor the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television, were announced Thursday at the Mystery Writers of America’s 68th gala in New York City.