Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

November 29, 2012

Local author wins mystery writing honors

Christine Bagley of Andover received honorable mention in the 2012 Al Blanchard Award contest for short crime fiction by a New England author or featuring a New England setting.

Bagley was honored for “The Madness of Ida Mae,” a dark comedy about a woman in her late 70s who reinvents herself, donning push-up bras, tight pants and movie star wigs, when her husband leaves her for another woman. But don’t underestimate a woman scorned.

The award was announced Nov. 10 at the 11th annual New England Crime Bake conference for mystery writers and readers in Dedham.

Bagley is a freelance writer who has completed two novels and numerous short stories and is working on an anthology featuring resilient, often unpredictable, female protagonists. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University and teaches writing to English as a Second Language (ESL) scientists and clinicians.

Bagley is the editor of “Eye Contact” for the Schepens Eye Research Institute, and the former editor of the “Medical Services Review” for Massachusetts General Hospital, both affiliates of Harvard Medical School.

First place in the Al Blanchard Award contest was presented to VR Barkowski of Atlanta, Ga., for “Out to Sea,” set on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. After her twin sister’s suicide, Vivienne Jamison returns to the island home where they were raised, only to find that someone will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn’t stay.

The authors of three other stories also received honorable mention in the Al Blanchard Awards contest.

The Al Blanchard Award honors the late author of two mystery novel series and numerous short crime stories. Blanchard was president of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America and co-founder of the New England Crime Bake.

The award is presented annually at the conference cosponsored by the New England chapters of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

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