April 29th, 2011

Okay,  THE QUEEN OF PATPONG didn’t get the Edgar.

The honor went to Steve Hamilton’s THE LOCK ARTIST, which is, I’m happy to say, a really tremendous piece of work.  It would have been crushing to lose to junk.

Not that there was any chance of that.  This was a remarkable list of finalists.  I haven’t read all the books, but the writers are all aces.

I had no expectation of winning — so little that I didn’t even think about the ceremony during the day that preceded it, until Munyin and I left the office of my wonderful new publishers, Soho Crime, which is at Broadway and 14th Street, and faced the facts that (a) we had to get to our hotel at 52nd and Madison so we could get all fancy and black-tie for the banquet, and (b) it was pouring and there wasn’t an empty taxi anywhere on Manhattan Island.

So we walked from 14th to 52nd in the rain, stopping at an AT&T store so we could drop a small fortune on iPhones, and I thought that it just might be difficult, what with the rain, to get to 42nd and Lex later for the event.  That was actually the first time I gave it any thought.  So at the hotel I handed the doorman a twenty and asked him to persuade a town car to wait for us if one showed up, and he said he would, and he did, and we got all fancy, and went outside and the town car was waiting and it was sunny and there were cabs everywhere.  So I was out about $60 for what should have been a five-buck cab ride.

I didn’t even begin to get nervous until they came to Best Paperback Original, the award that preceded Best Novel, and I realized I didn’t have a speech.  When they announced Steve’s book, I was surprisingly disappointed. I blew off the after-banquet champagne party, and we sulked our way back to the hotel and I felt sorry for myself until I fell asleep.

But I woke up this morning to about 50 very charitable e-mails telling me I’d been robbed, and by then I was over it anyway.  I’d rather have won, but it’s not going to weigh me down any. Making that list was pretty damned amazing.

Here are Mun, me (in pre-Weight Watchers mode), and Bruce DeSilva about 90 minutes before Bruce won an Edgar (for Best First Novel) and I didn’t.

We’ll be in NY tomorrow (Saturday) and go back to LA tomorrow night.  It’s been a dream trip except for not winning the Edgar.

Sniff, sniff.

30 Responses to “AAAAWWWWWW”

  1. Sharai Says:

    Just in case my email got sorted into junk, I wanted to say that ‘The Queen of Patpong, 2011 Edgar nominee, has a very nice ring to it!!!! Thanks for taking us all along for the wild ride.

  2. Stephen Cohn Says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t walk away with the statue but being nominated for such an honor makes you a winner anyway. It is substantive recognition as demonstrated by all the emails you got. I’m guessing there will be more to come from this.

  3. Susan Says:

    Hi Tim. I’m so sorry that your book didn’t win the Edgar. You deserved to win that.

    I purchased Bangkok Noir for my Nook and read your story first. Excellent!!

    I look forward to many more hours enjoying your excellent writing, humor and great wit. Thank you.

  4. EverettK Says:

    While my disappointment almost certainly wasn’t as great as yours, I was greatly disappointed. But, I’ve gotten over it.

    As they say in Hollywood: So, what have you done lately? 🙂

  5. Suzanna Says:

    The honor of being nominated has brought more readers into the Tim Hallinan fold, and made those of us who already know and love your work proud.

    I agree with Stephen, there is more to come from this.

    Thanks for including us in all of the events of your big day. I’m sorry you had to pay for the town car but I’m glad you rode in style. You certainly deserved to.

  6. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Hi Tim,
    I’m sorry your book didn’t win, a few others that were extremely well thought of didn’t either. That probably doesn’t help, but we were really sending you good vibes and commiserations when the results were announced. You all look very wonderful, and I will still treasure the experience of reading “Queen.”

  7. Laren Bright Says:

    Well, you may not have won the Edgar. But you continue to win the Laren, the Munyin, and apparently the Sharai, Stephen, Susan, and probably the Micael (even though he can’t even spell).

    The cool thing is that your writing was finally acknowledged big time with the nomination — what was it 5 nominees out of the thousands of mysteries written last year?

    Yeah, winning is always better. But being nominated still rocks.

  8. Tom Logan Says:

    Tim, you didn’t win. But you sure didn’t lose. Think about that.

  9. Vena Says:

    I’m totally hopping on Laren’s coattails, here – Tim, you continue to win the Vena, too (which, my my count, gives you at least seven awards).

    I’m sorry you didn’t get to fly back home with a snazzy statue and (even better) the award, but congratulations nonetheless for being nominated. QUEEN is a phenomenal book and as far as mystery novelists go, you’re the bee’s knees.

  10. Malcolm Searles Says:

    Congratulations and commiserations Tim. Think of all of those folk who were disappointed to not even get a nomination. That in itself is praise for your great work …
    Best wishes from the indefatigable Brit …

  11. Sylvia Says:

    You was robbed. Did you have fun outside of the announcement bit?

  12. Gary Says:

    Tim, it’s just a matter of time.

    Step 1: getting nominated.

    Step 2: winning it.

    It’s gonna happen one day soon.

  13. J. R. Lindermuth Says:

    Tim, I’m with the crowd that thinks you should have won.

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    I’m back from New York, and overwhelmed by this response.

    Every one of you just received 23 Instant Heaven Points, awarded for doing a good deed with no hope of repayment. And you only need 75 points to get the nod from St. Peter, so this isn’t something to use as a coaster. (Applicants with 100 points or more can walk right around the TSA screeners, although anyone who sticks out his/her tongue is immediately demoted to Purgatory for additional seasoning.)

    The whole thing was a wonderful experience, right up to the moment they read Steve Hamilton’s name. And Mun and I had a great time in NY, which was on best behavior the whole time.

    Sharai and Stephen, thanks — I agree “Edgar nominee” has a nice ring to it, and it truly was an honor to be nominated — especially in that group of books.

    Susan, so glad you liked HANSUM MAN, and I hope you enjoy all the other stories, too. This is my month for being in the company of excellent writers.

    Everett, I’m so glad to learn you’ve gotten over it. The moment Hamilton’s name was read, I leaned over and said to Mun, “How will Everett take this?” I’ve almost been afraid to ask.

    Suzanna, you always know what to say to make me feel better. (Not that I’m feeling too terrible.) I’m having several guest bedrooms added to the Hallinan Fold, just in case.

    Lil, I could feel those vibes and wishes, and that’s not a joke. And most of all, I’m glad you loved QUEEN.

    Laren, you get the Laren Bright Award (established 1957) for most quotable response. I love seeing it that way, and thank you SO much for pointing me in that direction. Thanks also to all of you who have presented me with those awards. That’s why I write: in the hope that it’ll mean something to someone.

    Tom, another excellent perspective. I’ve actually stolen it from you and used it verbally a couple of times, and people have looked at me admiringly when I did. This is literally true.

    Vena, your awards — in the form, sometimes, of Amazon reviews — have meant a huge amount to me. It’s always special when someone reviews the book I actually wrote rather than one the reader apparently imagined) and then, to have it be a positive review too– well, those are the ones that matter most. And I’ll go through the rest of the day smug in the (unshared) knowledge that I’m the bee’s knees.

    Thank you, Malcolm. You’ve been really great, especially considering that I don’t think I ever filled out an interview form for the Bread book. My apologies — I meant to, but, that doesn’t much matter does it? I didn’t, and I’m sorry.

    Sylvia, we had a wonderful time. New York at its best. And we walked our butts off, which in itself was a treat to Munyin, who isn’t happy if I’m not burning calories. As you can see from the photo, she’s right to be concerned.

    Hey, Gary. You left out the real Step 2: Bribing judges. Let’s hope it does happen, but you know, all I can do it write the books. Everything else is beyond my control. Hell, sometimes writing the books is beyond my control. Counting down, are you?

    Thanks J.R. It was great to be nominated, but it would have been even better to have taken Little Eddy home with me.

  15. Jen Says:

    Just wanted to add to the ‘sorry you didn’t get what you wanted’ list. That is one nifty statuette. On the plus side, you were a nominee at an event involving tuxes. Town cars go to it! Visiting your publisher? Lex and 42nd? Where I come from, people don’t do those kinds of things, unless they are characters on a tv show. On my TV. Kind of a big deal! congrats on the nomination. Here’s to next time.

  16. Crenna Aesegas Says:

    Think of the paparazzi dodging you’ve been spared! Think of the quality of nominees in general! Think of the great material you get from chasing pennies down gutters and cabs in the rain! And now WW svelt to boot! Well done. I got the Edgar part, and the rest is just frittery…Nominee? Award Winner? Details Details! It’s a terrific book, and the arc to get there has been a real pleasure.

  17. Hitch Says:

    Well, it’s all your fault that my newsletter not only went out shockingly late, but apparently has no images for about half the recipients. Like that poor newspaper Editor in Chief who’d prepared “Dewey Wins!” I’d set up an entire newsletter about your win…and as I was retweeting all the live tweets from the Edgars, my finger poised over the button to a) retweet your ineluctable win, and b)fire off my newsletter, trumpeting same, the dreaded live-tweet came in telling me that the judges had suffered some sort of brain-seizure and had given the Best Novel Edgar to some other guy. Zoiks! I had to come up with some OTHER space-filler….er, story, and apparently, in the flurry, sent out newsletters to hundreds of recipients with no cover images at all. Très embarassing. (See…I can manage to make this all about ME!!)

    Nonetheless, and despite the fact that you would have preferred to win (of course you would have)…really, I genuinely believe that “merely” being nominated isn’t some consolation prize. I think it’s near-miraculous for any author to be nominated at ALL, and in such a heavy-hitting field…I mean, it’s not like winning (or, for that matter, losing) the Oscar in a year in which the only other nominees are “Son of Flubber,” or a Matthew McConnaghey romance movie, dude. Alfred Hitchcock was nominated for an Oscar 5 times, and never won. (Not exactly a perfect exemplar, but….) He’ll be remembered long after the memory, if any, of other Oscar-winning directors will fade.

    So, buck up. I have no doubt that the nomination “alone” has brought many new readers to your and Poke’s door. (And Simeon’s and Junior’s). And it truly isn’t trivial to say “[i]t was an honor to be nominated,” because it is and was.

  18. Lisa Kenney Says:

    Oh Tim, this post is an example of one of the many, many reasons I just adore you. I love that not even for a moment have you tried to pretend that not winning wasn’t disappointing. You are one of my very favorite human beings for that reason. I hope you guys had a great time and I hope that in time, the realization of how very cool the nomination was will begin to mean more. You’re the best, Tim.

  19. Debbi Says:

    I’m sorry I’m weighing in so late on this, but I’ve been so busy this weekend being overwhelmed at Malice. I actually blogged and wrote my monthly Web site column while I was there, out of sheer cussed determination. Or something.

    Anyhow, I love Steve Hamilton and all. But you was robbed. 🙂

  20. Kevin Says:

    You went, that’s the important thing. And you helped the slumping town car economy. A win/win.

  21. Mae Mougin Says:

    You are and have always been a winner~ you were nominated for an Edgar~ you put on a black tie and shared with your most wonderful wife an eventful evening celebrating you in New York City!!!

  22. Rachel Brady Says:

    Something I like about you, Tim, is that you’re authentic and frank and you tell it like it is. I would have loved to see the Edgar go to you, and QUEEN is an outstanding story. As things are, I’m delighted it was recognized with a nomination and that you and Munyin were able to have a nice, if wet, time in New York. Chin up. Head down. (Possible at the same time?) More books! 🙂

  23. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Well, this is astonishing. All you guys are amazing.

    Let’s go backward this time.

    Rachel, Mun and I had a GREAT time in NY, even if my nice leather Tommy Bahama boat shoes are STILL wet, and even if I spent the last ten minutes before we left for the ceremony holding a hair dryer that was stuck into a sock because I’d soaked my only pair of black socks walking back from Soho. Very glamorous beginning to the evening. I’ll bet you don’t have to do that when you’re nominated.

    Mae, I’m SOOOO sorry our paths didn’t cross in NY — it was well into the shaded area that’s usually labeled CRAZY. But it was a great trip, if not ultimately a successful one, and it would have been even better if we’d been able to see you. There’s (something odd about two people who have known each other since the Pleistocene communicating via comments on a web site.)

    Kevin, the guys who drive town cars are my biggest fans. They’ve got all that waiting time and the books give then an imaginary exit ramp from New York. This particular guy made out like a bandit.

    Debbi, when a New York Times Best-seller says I was robbed, I have to listen. (Wasn’t it cool how I worked that in?) Wish I were at Malice with you, although I wouldn’t have thought your books were cozy enough.

    Well, Lisa, I adore you, too, and it’s been way too long since we saw each other. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do a marathon tour for THE GROWING YOUNGER MAN, which will be the first book from Soho, so I’ll definitely be in Denver, but that’s not until 2012. Come to California or something. And thanks especially for “You’re the best.” That’s the kind of thing I like (Need? Does that sound pathetic?) to hear.

    Hitch, well, of course, my Edgar (cough, cough) loss IS about you. In fact, I hold you directly responsible for it. When I’m not blaming Steve Hamilton, that is. For those of you who don’t know, Hitch is my e-book publisher, responsible for making the Simeon and Junior books available to the clamoring mob who bring the Amazon computers to a shuddering halt each day with their tens of thousands of orders. Thanks to Hitch, Mun and I now own a small island in the Caribbean, one of the lesser palaces built by Ludwig of Bavaria, and a small flock of rain clouds that are currently following Steve Hamilton wherever he goes. So I’m really sorry that my losing screwed up your newsletter — not to mention the front-page compositors at the New York Times — and thanks so much for reminding me that the other Hitch lost, too.

    People are sending me lots of info about talented people who lost and lost and lost and lost. (Al Pacino — EIGHT nominations before they gave him a guilt Oscar for SCENT OF A WOMAN), and I sort of wish everyone would quit. I don’t actually want to lose eight times, although I certainly wouldn’t mind being NOMINATED eight time.

    Yo, Crenna: the Paps are a continuing problem in my life. They crowd around me as I write in coffee houses, trying to get a shot of my next sentence. Whenever I see them coming, I type “Call me Ishmael,” and a lot of them have started calling me Ishmael. It was a lot of fun, all of it — from nomination to aftermath — with one sort of dizzying dip in the middle. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Frittery indeed, and thanks for liking the book and saying so.

    Ah, Jen, as St. Mick says, “You can’t always get what you want.” On the other hand, I wanted a nomination (sort of — I never actually anticipated getting one) and THAT happened, so why not go for broke and get the little statue, too? And it happened, just as I’d dreamed, except that it happened for Steve Hamilton. I actually have a theory that the Edgar was intended for me, but that one of the Fates is mildly dyslexic and filed the winner’s note in the box RIGHT NEXT TO MINE. “Hamilton?” “Hallinan?” How far apart could they be?

    My new pubs, the people at Soho, are miraculously nice, and they’re fiercely committed to books, as opposed to “lists” and “market niches.” All I have to do is give them a good book.

  24. Meredith Cole Says:

    I’m so glad your series has found a home! That is the big win for all of us (your readers). Congrats again on being nominated and having a good time in New York City. I couldn’t tell at all from the pix that you had been drenched!

  25. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Why, thank you, Meredith — I’m thrilled to be with Soho. And the nomination was cool all the way through. Unfortunately, when I look at the pictures it’s clear that the rain didn’t shrink me, except in height. I’ve never looked shorter or fatter in my life. I look like Fanny DeVito as The Penguin.

  26. Lisa Kenney Says:

    Tim, PLEASE make sure to give me a heads-up on your 2012 tour dates. In the meantime, be careful what you put out there — my baby sister lives in L.A. so I may swing out there for a visit one of these days. Fair warning! 🙂

  27. Karma Lee Nash Says:

    The Queen of Patpong wins as best read of the year for me regardless of genre. Glad you have a new home. Now write another Poke book, fast. Having withdrawal.

  28. Debbi Says:

    Wow! It always gives me a small shock to see the words “New York Times Best-seller” used to describe moi, so thanks so much for working them in. 🙂

    And if Sue Grafton can get a Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice, how confined to the cozy is that convention, anymore?

    I actually alluded to this in my monthly column, which discussed the Agatha Awards and tried to place the whole thing in a larger perspective.

    PS: Even if you were robbed, you’ll always be a nominee. That’s an honor in itself. Really!

  29. Janet Martin Says:

    I read all the Edgar nominees, and even to make the field against this particular batch of novels was an achievement beyond what would have been required the past several years. In my opinion, you’re a WINNER. The Edgars at least had peer nominations and professional judges, vs the Malice conference which has turned into a Louise Penney fan club

  30. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Janet, and thanks so much — you read the first three just to get to the fourth one? Can we arrange to clone you 35,000 times?

    I agree completely about the strength of the nominees. When I say I had no expectation whatsoever of winning, that’s exactly what I mean.

    Malice always seems too cozy for me to consider going — but they had Grafton this year, whom I’d love to meet. And I haven’t read Louise Penny yet, but she’s in my Kindle.

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