The Mystery Fest Key West scheduled for June of 2020 has been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus. We look forward to seeing our writers, readers, friends and fans again in 2021. In the meantime – the 2020 Whodunit Writing Contest has gone on.

The annual Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition has selected this year’s winner . . .

Although the coronavirus pandemic forced us to extend the announcement deadline, our Whodunit judging panel has selected a winner:

• John David Bethel takes First Place with his entry, “Hold Back the Dark.” He will receive the Whodunit Award plaque, his book will be published with the winner’s seal on the cover, and he will receive a trip to the next Mystery Fest Key West (when it’s safe to hold one).

• Robb T. White took Second Place with “Burning Girl.”

• Third Place was a three-way tie decided by our judges: "Hemingway Was Murdered” by Elizabeth Ritter, "An Unsavory Event” by Victoria Leigh, “Accounting Can Be Murder” by G. Steven McMillan.

• Honorable Mentions go to: Wayne Gales, Richard Vetere, and Bill Craig.

All the above mysteries will be published by Absolutely Amazing eBooks with an appropriate winner’s seal on the cover.

“This year’s entries were down, due to the global pandemic,” commented head judge Robin Robinson. “But the quality was indeed up. Selecting the first two winners were no-brainers, but after that the choices got very difficult due to the excellent writing.”

The Whodunit Judging Team consists of Robin Robinson, Carol Lazar, Toby Armour, and Reef Perkins. (See picture below)

Judging was conducted “blind,” no names attached to the entries. Participants were asked to submit the first three pages of an unpublished mystery novel for the judging.

The Whodunit Mystery Writing Contest was inspired by the late Jeremiah Healy, a highly regarded mystery writer who always maintained that a reader decides within the first three pages whether to like a book. So the annual competition only looks at the first three pages of entries in making its selections.

“Having reviewed this year’s winners, I can’t wait to get them published. They promise to be great reads,” said Shirrel Rhoades, publisher of Absolutely Amazing eBooks, and co-founder of Mystery Fest Key West.

Next step will be for the winners to provide the complete manuscript for publication.

“There’s nothing like a good book to help occupy you while sequestered during the pandemic,” noted Albert E. Kelley, a director of Absolutely Amazing eBooks. “And mysteries are the most popular genre we publish. I’m delighted that this year’s winners look so engaging and readable.”

Launched in 2015, this is the Sixth Annual Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition.

The Whodunit judges are:
Robin Robinson, Reef Perkins, Carol Lazar, and Toby Armour.

Whodunit Judges 2020



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Please write to: Mystery Fest Key West,
926 Truman Avenue,
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