top of page


Here are a few exciting news items from Richard Helms!

"Sweeps Week"   WINS the 2022 Shamus Award AND the 2022 Macavity Award!

The Private Eye Writers of America presented their 2022 Shamus Awards for achievement in private eye fiction on August 4, and Richard Helms received his second Shamus Award in the last two years for his Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine short story "Sweeps Week". On September 8, "Sweeps Week" also won the 2022 Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for Best Short Story!

"Sweeps Week" features a nameless, homeless former cop who is hired by another homeless man to find his missing buddy, against the background of a looming political convention in New York City. It appeared in the July-August issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. This is Helms' second Shamus Award nomination in the Best Short Story category, after his 2014 EQMM short story "Busting Red Heads" was nominated in 2015.

"I'm still pinching myself," Helms said. "I'm so thankful to Janet Hutchings and all her crew at Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. They've been incredibly supportive to me over the years. I'm so proud to have earned eight Shamus Award nominations in the last twenty years, and to win the Macavity on my second nomination, and I am also proud to have been included in such a terrific list of nominees. The Shamus was my first major mystery award nomination, in 2003, and it's such a thrill to bring another one home. The finalist list for the Macavity Award this year was like a Who's Who among mystery short story authors."


Brittle Karma by Richard Helms WINS 2021       Shamus Award !


The Private Eye Writers of America released their 2021 Shamus Award Winners list on July 26, 2021. Brittle Karma, the third title in Richard Helms' Eamon Gold Series, WON the Shamus Award in the Best Original Private Eye Paperback Novel category.

Nominated with Helms in this category were James Bywater, Ralph Dennis, John Lantigua, and Debbi Mack.

This was Richard Helms' eighteenth major mystery award nomination, and his seventh time as a finalist for the PWA Shamus Award. This was the second Shamus Award Nomination for the Eamon Gold Series. The second title, Cordite Wine, was a finalist in 2006. In addition, Eamon Gold short stories have garnered two Derringer Award Nominations ("The Gospel According to Gordon Black", which won the Derringer in 2007; and "Silicon Kings" which was a finalist in 2011).

"This is big," Helms reported after learning of the win. "My first major award nomination was the Shamus, in 2003 (for Juicy Watusi, his third Pat Gallegher novel). Private Eye Writers of America and the Shamus Award hold a very special place in my heart. I am so incredibly delighted to finally bring one home."

Helms also wanted to dedicate this award to the memory of his friend and mentor, the late Jeremiah Healy. "Among all the people who helped me in the early days, the great Jeremiah Healy stands tallest. He was an early fan, offered encouragement and support, and was always there to say 'yes' when I had a request. Jerry was a friend, a drinking buddy, and a mentor, and he taught me the true meaning of the phrase "pay it forward". I miss Jerry and his ready smile, raucous laugh, complete lack of social filters, and his dedication to nurturing the careers of baby writers. I would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart, and dedicate this award to his memory."

Richard Helms signs with Level Best Books!

On the heels of one of his best years ever in the publishing business, Richard Helms recently inked a deal to publish two novels with Level Best Books in Maryland.

A Kind and Savage Place, a prequel novel to Helms' critically acclaimed Judd Wheeler series, will be published by Level Best's New Arc Books imprint in early 2022. Set between 1942 and 1989, A Kind and Savage Place follows the lives of three high school football stars who are forced by a local KKK Grand Dragon with political aspirations to take part in the 1954 lynching of a black youth in rural Prosperity, North Carolina. One of the three friends harbors a terrible secret that could prevent the murder, but keeps silent to save his own future. Over the next decade, the young men scatter to different parts of the world, but are brought back to Prosperity by tragedy in 1968, only to discover that the former Grand Dragon is now an all-powerful political force in the county, and a shoo-in for a Congressional seat in the next election.

Vicar Brekonridge, a historical mystery based on Helms' Derringer Award-nominated EQMM short story "The Cripplegate Apprehension", will be published by Level Best's Historia imprint in mid-2022. In 1843 London, a Scottish woodturner named Daniel M'Naghten gunned down Edward Drummond, the private secretary to Prime Minister Robert Peel, while Drummond strolled the streets of Whitehall. M'Naghten believed he shot the Prime Minister and, after being informed otherwise and making a brief statement at his arraignment, he never spoke in public about the crime again. M'Naghten was represented at trial by firebrand Queen's Counsel Alexander Cockburn, who intended to plead insanity and rewrite four hundred years of English Common Law in the process. In this fictional retelling of the famous historical event, Cockburn recruits legendary London thief-taker Vicar Brekonridge to travel to Glasgow, M'Naghten's home, and find witnesses who can bolster the insanity defense. What Brekonridge finds instead suggests that M'Naghten was part of a frightening conspiracy to bring down the British government.

"I am extremely pleased to join Level Best Books' distinquished stable of authors," Helms said. "I look forward to a long and happy relationship in my new publishing home!"

Paid In Spades WINS prestigious Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award!

At the Killer Nashville Mystery Conference in Nashville, TN, in August 2020, Richard Helms' Pat Gallegher novel Paid In Spades won the Silver Falchion Award in the Best Procedural or Private Eye Novel category .


"This is a huge honor," Helms said during his acceptance speech. "First, I'd like to thank Clay Stafford, Joseph Borden, Liz Gatterer, and all the folks at Clay Stafford Books for the time and effort they put into this novel. Bella Negrotto designed the cover for Paid In Spades, and even took the photo used on it in downtown Franklin, TN. Even so, it perfectly evokes the gritty feel of New Orleans' French Quarter, the setting of the novel. Bella passed away shortly before Paid In Spades was published in March 2019. I wish to dedicate this award to her memory."

Richard Helms receives TWO 2020 Derringer Award Nominations!


On April 1, 2020, the Short Mystery Fiction Society announced the nominees for the 2020 Derringer Awards for excellence in the creative art form of short mystery fiction.

Richard Helms received two nominations. The first, in the Long Story category, was for "See Humble and Die", which appeared in The Eyes of Texas, an anthology published by Down & Out Books, and edited by Michael Bracken. "See Humble and Die" was previously selected as well for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's 2020 Best American Mystery Stories, edited by Otto Penzler and C.J. Box.

His second nomination was in the Novelette category, for "The Cripplegate Apprehension", which appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, edited by Janet Hutchings.

This is the third time Richard Helms has received two Derringer Award nominations in the same year. He previously did it in 2008 and 2011. In 2008, he became one of only two authors (with John Floyd) ever to win the Derringer in two different categories.

The Derringer Award winners will be announced at the end of April, and awards will be presented at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Sacramento, California, in October.

Richard Helms story in Best American Mystery Stories 2020!

Richard Helms' "See Humble and Die", from The Eyes of Texas, edited by Michael Bracken (Down and Out Books, 2019) was one of twenty short stories selected by Editor C.J. Box and Series Editor Otto Penzler for inclusion in the 2020 edition of Houghton Mifflin's Best American Mystery Stories.


"See Humble and Die" features a new character, Huck Spence, a former Texas Ranger in his seventies who decides to hang out a private eye shingle to help stave off the boredom of retirement. Most of his business involves serving legal papers, until he tries to serve a bench warrant on a butcher in former oil boom town Humble, and stumbles on a clue that can solve a murder.

bottom of page