I found a list of the nominees for the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2011 on this link
The Real Macaw (Meg Lanslow series) by Donna Andrews Meg Lansl (Minotaur)
The Diva Haunts the House by Krista Davis (Berkley)
Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur)
Three-Day Town by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
I just finished reading A Trick of the Light and I loved it. I'm eager to read book number 8, The Beautiful Mystery, set in a monastery, to be released in August.
The series of award winning books by Donna Andrews all have bird names in the title; the first one is Murder with Peacocks and is set in Virginia. All these novels seem to fall in the cozy mysteries genre - no gory murder details; small town or village setting; funny, entertaining or eccentric secondary characters.