Malice Domestic - Tea and Traditional Cozy Murder Mystery

Crime Writer - Agatha Christie
Malice Domestic's Agatha Awards are named after Agatha Christie. Express / Getty Images

Malice Domestic provides tea, sympathy and murder for the authors and fans of "cozy" mysteries. 

What Is A Cozy Mystery? 

"Cozies" — or, who love what Malice Domestic terms "traditional" mysteries — are written in the tradition of Agatha Christie. That is, despite having murder as a centerpiece, these novels have no explicit sex, gore or gratuitous violence.

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Where does Malice Domestic Take Place in 2016?

Malice Domestic 28 takes place April 29-May 1, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD.

Malice Domestic Conference - All About the Cozies

Since 1989, the non-profit Malice Domestic conference has been hosted in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, generally in May. The conference features a host of speakers, published authors and others who write or work in the traditional mystery genre or related areas. Programs range from discussions on forensic science to discussions of the various trends in book publishing (such as Young Adult).

Each year, there is a Guest of Honor; a Toastmaster; and A Fan Guest of Honor. There is also a "Malice Remembers" featured author, highlighting the career of a writer who has passed.

The convention also features numerous book signing sessions, an Awards Banquet, and a closing tea.

Malice Domestic Awards

All of the Malice Domestic Awards are presented at the annual convention. The awards include:

  • Lifetime Achievement - The Malice Domestic Board of Directors presents an Award for Lifetime Achievement is given in recognition of a significant body of distinguished work in the traditional (i.e. cozy) genre.
  • The Poirot Award - The Poirot Award is presented as deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors of Malice Domestic to honor individuals other than writers who have made outstanding contributions to the traditional cozy genre. Past recipients of the Poirot Award include Tom Shantz, mystery book reviewer for the Denver Post; William Link, television writer and creator of many TV mystery series (as well as past president of the Mystery Writers of America), and Angela Lansbury, for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series Murder, She Wrote.
  • The Agatha Awards - Named after the worlds bestselling author and master of the cozy genre, the Malice Domestic Agatha Awards are bestowed on works first published in the United States by a living author during the calendar year (January 1-December 31) prior to the convention date at which they are awarded. The works can have been published in hardcover, as a paperback original, or e-published by an e-publishing firm.

The Agatha Awards honor the "traditional mystery." That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie (that is, they contain no explicit sex, excessive gore, or gratuitous violence). According to the organization, materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate.

Like the Anthony Awards given at Bouchercon, the Agatha Awards are voted on by the convention participants.

Malice Domestic participants who by December 31 of the year just prior to the convention date (i.e 12/31/14 for the 2015 convention) receive a nomination form in January asking for their ranked choices for nominees in each Agatha Award category. 

The Agatha Award categories are:

  • Best Contemporary Novel
  • Best Historical Novel
  • Best First Novel
  • Best Short Story
  • Best Nonfiction
  • Best Children's / Young Adult Novel

All nomination forms received by the stated deadline will be tallied by the Agatha Committee who will also ensure the nominated books meet the Malice requirements. The top choices (typically five) in each category will become the proposed ballot submitted to the Malice Board of Directors for final review.


Once the proposed ballot is final, the nominees will be announced in February of the convention year.

A ballot listing each category's nominees will be given to all attendees of the Malice Domestic convention. Attendees will vote by secret ballot, the ballots will be tabulated and the winners are announced at the Agatha Awards banquet, generally held on Saturday night of the convention.