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Minotaur Books and the Mystery Writers of America introduced the winner of their annual "First Crime Novel Competition" at the 76th annual Edgar Awards Banquet on April 28 in New York City. Jess Armstrong, who lives and writes in New Orleans, won for her novel The Curse of Penryth Hall, which will be published in 2023. “Jess impressed us right away with the lyrical descriptions and passionate characters in her novel, The Curse of Penryth Hall," says Vice President and Associate Publisher at Minotaur Books Kelley Ragland. "Her Gothic mystery is set in 1920s Cornwall and features an unforgettable heroine in Ruby Vaughn, who must overcome the power of the village's long-held legends in order to catch a killer. ” Armstrong has a master's degree in American History but prefers writing about imaginary people to the real thing. She lives in New Orleans with her historian husband, two sons, yellow cat, speckled dog and the world’s two most pampered school-fair goldfish. When she’s not working on her next project, she’s probably thinking about cheese, baking, tweeting or some combination of the above. We interviewed Armstrong by email about winning the competition, how she's inspired by the Southern Gothic imagery of New

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