07 July 2020

Purchase. Read. Vote.

Though the first Bouchercon was held in 1970 and the first Anthony Awards presented in 1986, Bouchercon 2020 will be, if I’ve counted correctly, only the tenth time an Anthony has been presented for an anthology or collection.

As a contributor to three Anthony-nominated anthologies and the editor of one, it may be selfish to suggest that I wish an Anthony were awarded in this category every year.

As a voracious writer and reader of short mystery fiction, though, I think this is a great way to recognize the contributions of short-story writers and editors, and I believe their work should be honored every year. After all, crime fiction novelists have multiple opportunities to receive awards, far more than do short-story writers and editors.


The award seems to have had slightly different names over the years, and here’s a look back at past winners. The publishers of Anthony-winning anthologies/collections include both major publishers and small presses, and the editors tend to be well-known. Bouchercon’s own anthologies have won twice and, coincidentally, the only publisher to have won twice published the Bouchercon anthologies.

2018 Best Anthology—Gary Phillips, The Obama Inheritance (Three Rooms Press)

2017 Best Anthology or Collection—Greg Herren, Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 (Down & Out)

2016 Best Anthology or Collection—Art Taylor, Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015 (Down & Out)

2015 Best Anthology or Collection—Laurie R. King & Leslie S. Klinger, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon (Pegasus Crime)

2001 Best Anthology/Short-Story Collection—Lawrence Block, Master’s Choice II (Berkley)

1996 Best Short Story Collection—Marcia Muller, The McCone Files: The Complete Sharon McCone Stories (Crippen & Landru)

1995 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection—Tony Hillerman, The Mysterious West (Harper Collins)

1994 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection—Martin H. Greenberg, Mary Higgins Clark Presents Malice Domestic 2 (Pocket)

1992 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection—Sara Paretsky, A Woman’s Eye (Delacorte)


There are five nominees for Best Anthology or Collection this year, each equally deserving. If you enjoy short stories, and if you want to read several great stories, you should order all five. Within the pages of these anthologies you will discover Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, Macavity, and Shamus Award-nominated short stories, an Agatha Award-winning story, a Derringer Award-winning story, and at least one story selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2020.

The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods, edited by Michael Bracken (Down & Out Books)

¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, edited by Angel Luis Col√≥n (Down & Out Books)

Crime Travel, edited by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)

Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons (Wildside Press)

Murder A-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos, edited by Holly West (Down & Out Books)

So, order all five, read them closely and, when you receive your Anthony ballot this year, vote for the anthology you feel most deserving.


Though Art Taylor is the only SleuthSayer to receive an Anthony for Best Anthology, Paul D. Marks co-edited the Anthony-nominated Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea (Down & Out), and Barb Goffman and I each edited an anthology nominated this year. So, SleuthSayers are well represented in this category.

Sandra Murphy and I have a collaboration—“Goobers”—in The Book of Extraordinary Impossible Crimes and Puzzling Deaths (Mango) edited by Maxim Jakubowski; my story “Caked” appears in the June issue of Thriller Magazine, and my story “El Despoblado” appears in the June issue of The Digest Enthusiast.


  1. Yes.It's good anthologies are recognized and receive an award every year. This should be highlighted and promoted. Cool.


  2. Lovely to see so many Sleuthsayers honored!

  3. It's great to see anthologies get this kind of recognition. I was in four of the anthologies mentioned here, and it's sure fun to coattail on the talent of editors like you, Barb, Greg, and Paul. A few years ago I was in a fantasy antho that won a Bram Stoker Award, and even though I'm sure my story had VERY little to do with the win, it was a great feeling to be part of an honored and recognized project.

    My hat's always off to you and all anthology editors--it's a tough job.

  4. I love short stories, so anthologies are big on my shopping list. Now I know several new collections to check out.

    Thanks, Michael.

    And good luck to nominees, even though there's healthy competition. That just makes everyone try even harder.

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  6. Thanks for the shout out, Michael. You might want to amend the blog post to say that the nominated anthologies this year also included Agatha-nominated stories, one of which won. That was Mystery Most Edible.

  7. Thank you, Barb. I missed that and have updated my blog post accordingly.

  8. Congratulations on your nominations, Michael. And everybody! And thanks for the shout out.

  9. Keep thumping the drum, Michael. The more awareness of anthologies out there, may mean more anthologies to submit to in the future.
    I was lucky to have a story in the Bouchercon anthology, Blood on the Bayou.

  10. Yes! More publicity, more awareness for anthologies!

  11. Thanks for this post. Yes, there should be more awards, more recognition, for short crime fiction. Perhaps the run of new anthologies/collections will spur some thinking along these lines.

  12. Thanks for all y'all's comments. I'm glad to know so many other writers share my belief that short-story writers and the anthologies they write for deserve more recognition.

  13. Short stories entertain, entrance and enchant - much like a novel except the concept and emotions must be packed into fewer words. Glad to see anthologies represented. Hardest thing is choosing between so many good ones -
    And I am not saying that because I respect all the editors or have stories in two of the five. Debra

    Debra H. Goldstein
    Agatha, Anthony and Derringer Short Story finalist
    The Sarah Blair mysteries (Kensington)


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