Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION DAGGER AWARDS SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED
The Crime Writers’ Association tonight (Friday 20) announced the shortlists for a number of this year’s Daggers - the prestigious awards that celebrate the very best in crime and thriller writing.
The CWA Dagger Awards are the longest established literary awards in the UK and are internationally recognised as a mark of excellence and achievement.
The shortlists were announced tonight at CrimeFest in Bristol. The winners will be announced at an event staged alongside the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate, on Friday July 22.
CWA Chair Peter James said: “Our shortlists this year reflect the high quality of modern crime writing. The range and invention shown in the shortlisted works is impressive and augers well for the health of the great tradition of ours.”
The shortlists announced tonight, are as follows:
THE CWA INTERNATIONAL DAGGER
For crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English from their original language, for UK publication between June 1 2010 and May 31 2011. Prize money £1000 for the author and £500 for the translator.
The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri, Tr. Stephen Sartarelli, (Mantle)
Camilleri rings the changes on his familiar cast of characters, while developing his anger at the corruption of a fictional Italian president through Montalbano’s discovery of local worthies involved in international trafficking in women.
Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo, Tr. Jethro Soutar (Bitter Lemon Press)
Classic Noir set in Argentina during the brutal reign of the junta. In a familiar sub-genre, this well written book offers an unfamiliar exercise in the maverick cop’s passionate and obsessive refusal to give up the chase, even at the risk of his own life.
The Saint-Florentin Murders by Jean-François Parot, Tr. Howard Curtis (Gallic)
Nicola Le Floch, a Paris police commissioner under the young Louis XVI, investigates a murder which appears to implicate one of the king’s ministers, revealing local vice and foreign spies. Parot’s superb invocations of life in eighteenth-century Paris never overwhelm a complex intrigue involving all levels of French society.
Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström, Tr. Kari Dickson (Quercus)
The Swedish duo’s usual maverick cop takes a back seat to a riveting exploration of a deniable operation involving an undercover agent deep inside a criminal organisation. Their new character, doomed to betrayal by political manoeuvring, fights for his life with great intelligence and courage.
River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi, Tr. Joseph Farrell (Maclehose)
Unlike most police procedurals, the detective Soneri plays second fiddle to an evocation of the hard lives lived on and near the Po, from the history of dangers survived during the bitter internal battles of the Second World War to contemporary criminal people-smuggling, with the river’s own threat of flood and destruction.
An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas, Tr. Siân Reynolds (Harvill Secker)
As usual in Vargas’s weird and wonderful world, disparate crimes in hundred-year-old London, contemporary Paris and the Serbia of legend. In the eccentric and intuitive Adamsberg’s seventh outing, maverick cop and his maverick team plunge into adventures which follow from unusual events.
Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar, Tr. Sonia Soto (Abacus)
What looks like a banal suicide leads to an investigation into the complex past of a village of fishermen, whose lives have been changed by fished-out waters, property development and the ambitions and prejudices of a once-conservative society.
THE CWA GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION
Any non-fiction work on a real-life crime theme or a closely-related subject by an author of any nationality, as long as the book was first published in the UK in English between between 1st June, 2010 and 31st May, 2011. Prize money £1000.
Judith Flanders: The Invention of Murder (HarperCollins)
A comprehensive account of how journalists, playwrights and other writers brought the attention of the 19th century public to the entertainment value of stories of violent murder, and how they established the style and techniques of contemporary crime writing.
Colin Evans: Slaughter on a Snowy Morn (Icon Books)
Not a well-known American crime, but a detailed and very readable account, and significant in crime history for two reasons. Firstly, the dedicated fight by a woman attorney to save the accused from the electric chair at Sing Sing. Secondly, the pioneering work in ballistics by Waite and Goddard.
Douglas Starr: The Killer of Little Shepherds (Simon & Schuster)
A notorious French case of a serial killer, undetected for a very long time, as he travelled about the country. Many details of the investigation include the developments in forensic science by Lacassagne (who was principal witness at the eventual trial), Lombroso, Gross, Locard and Bertillon.
Wilbert Rideau: In the Place of Justice (Profile)
The heart-warming autobiography of Wilbert Rideau, a teenage killer who spent the longest-ever imprisonment in the USA, mostly in Angola prison. He was for many years editor of the prison newsletter, the Angolite, winning many awards for journalism, and after a long struggle was eventually declared rehabilitated in 2005.
Michael Capuzzo: The Murder Room (Michael Joseph)
The story of the Vidocq Society, founded by former FBI expert William Fleisher, forensic sculptor Frank Bender, and the eccentric profiler Richard Walter – known as ‘the living Sherlock Holmes’. They meet regularly to investigate, and hopefully solve, the ever-increasing number of murder cold cases in the USA.
Kate Colquhoun: Mr Briggs’ Hat (Little, Brown)
‘Britain’s first railway murder’. Thomas Briggs, a City banker, was fatally attacked on a Hackney-bound train on 9 July 1844. In a blood-spattered compartment , all that was found was his walking-stick, his empty bag – and a hat that was not his. There was no sign of Briggs. The author evokes the atmosphere of Victorian rail travel, and details the hunt for the killer.
CWA SHORT STORY DAGGER
Any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment, between 1st June, 2010 and 31st May, 2011. Prize money £500.
East of Suez, West of Charing Cross Road by John Lawton - Agents of Treachery - Ed Otto Penzler (Atlantic Books)
Wednesday’s Child by Ken Bruen - First Thrills - Ed. Lee Child (Atlantic Books)
The Princess of Felony Flats - by Bill Cameron - First Thrills - Ed. Lee Child - (Atlantic Books)
The Dead Club - by Michael Palmer & Daniel Palmer - First Thrills - Ed. Lee Child (Atlantic Books)
Homework by Phil Lovesey - The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Vol 8 - Ed Maxim Jakubowski (Constable and Robinson)
CWA DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY
Sponsored by The Random House Group.
Nominated and judged by librarians and awarded to an author for a body of work, not one single title. Prize money £1,500 plus £300 to a participating library readers’ group.
SJ Bolton - Fast-paced, lurid page turners that you simply can’t put down. Splendidly warped and macabre stories with larger than life characters that grip and don't let go till the end.
RJ Ellory - He writes American style fiction better than the Americans, with each one different from the last. A master at creating whole new casts of characters and engaging the reader's emotions in the story.
Jason Goodwin - Yashim the Eunuch is a great new addition to the pool of crime fiction detectives, and one who will inspire great affection in readers. The historical setting springs to life almost as another character and the stories are well plotted and satisfying reads.
Mo Hayder - Twisting, hard-hitting crime novels with a haunting emotional pull on the reader. Damaged detective Jack Caffery and police diver Flea Marley are one of the best pairings in current crime writing with each story leaving fans clamouring for more.
Susan Hill - Beautifully written, lyrical tales following not just the detective but his family and immediate circle as well. Each book leaves the reader better acquainted with her beguiling world and less and less willing to leave it.
Philip Kerr - Bernie Gunther is the original hard-boiled cop; his time in the SS makes him a somewhat morally ambiguous but likeable character which adds an extra dimension to some intricately plotted stories. The historical details are meticulously researched.
CWA DEBUT DAGGER
Sponsored by Orion
The Debut Dagger is a new-writing competition open to anyone writing in the English language who has not yet had a novel published commercially. First prize is £700 plus two free tickets to the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards. All shortlisted entrants receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries, and have also been invited to the Dagger Awards presentations.
A Burial Place for Strangers – Sharon Hunt (Canada)
In 1942 five German sailors are murdered on a remote Newfoundland island. More than six decades later the death of a local man brings his estranged daughter back to the island to uncover family secrets and lay the past to rest.
Sharon Hunt is a Canadian writer with credits including CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail newspaper and Reader’s Digest. Her short stories have appeared in literary journals.
A Quiet Night in Entebbe – Peter Wynn Norris (UK)
Uganda 1952 – and the Winds of Change are beginning to stir. Juba Lubiri is swept up an anti-European cult and murder as he rebels against the religion of the missionaries and is drawn into a plot to kill the newly proclaimed Queen Elizabeth.
Peter Wynn Norris has drawn on his own experience as a Police Inspector in Africa to create the back-drop of this novel. His short stories have won awards.
A Vicious Indulgence – Annie Hauxwell (Australia)
Berlin in London: Catherine Berlin, investigator and heroin addict, must swim with the loan sharks to find her informant’s killer. But a more menacing predator awaits.
Annie Hauxwell abandoned the law to work as an investigator and now combines this with writing. She has written short films and long plays and decided to try a novel when her screenplays stalled in development Hell.
Biographies of a Victim – Gunnar Lange-Nielsen (Norway)
A story about a policeman investigating his own death by murder (no fantasy or science fiction involved).
Bilingual writer Gunnar Lange-Nielsen has used his knowledge of psychiatry and inter-religious dialogue to add to the backdrop of this novel. He is presently taking a sabbatical from his ‘day’ job of town planner/lecturer to concentrate on writing.
Hide and Seek – Sarah Darby (UK)
A violent abduction leaves a mother dead, a small boy badly injured, and a young girl missing. The doctor who is called in to treat the injured child helps to uncover a pattern of unsolved abductions.
Sarah Darby lives in a house structurally supported by paperbacks. She has been published in the Oxford Anthology of New Writing and her poetry has been variously published and short-listed for a poetry prize.
Men of the Rose – Jessica Ramage (UK)
Under investigation by the State Prosecutor and with his partner recently murdered, Czech Detective Antonin Rychtar’s enquiry into the murder of a Scottish tourist, leads him into the world of the occult and his own past.
The Boy Who Loved Penguins – SWC Webb (UK)
A retired policeman determines to unravel the truth behind a series of unsolved events that took place in South Wales during the long, cool, summer of 1996. Aided by the cryptic promptings of a strange boy, Ariel, he is steered towards a startling and life-changing discovery.
Welsh author SWC Webb qualified as a town planner and now works as a Civil Servant. He is hoping to find time to follow the lead of his literary heroes (Robert Crais, Peter Corris and Henning Mankell).
The Greengrocers and Fruiterers’ Convention – Martin Ungless (UK)
A firm-fleshed mystery crossed with a tangy romance. Ripe to bursting with secrets sects, secret sex, GM crops, Military Intelligence, Customs and Excise and sanctions busting.
Award-winning architect and university lecturer Martin Ungless is now edging towards writing full-time. In the past couple of years his work has won a leading Literature Prize and an Arts Council Award. He is currently revising the final draft of his novel.
The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves – Graham Brack (UK)
Josef Slonsky has been a policeman in Prague for forty years. During the first twenty he followed orders, but now he’s trying to make up for it by tracing a murderer’s trail however high it leads
Sunderland born Graham Brack works as a pharmacist. He has produced plenty of technical writing but this is his first work of fiction (unless you count the answer to question 4 in his final paper in pharmacology)
The Temp – Luke Melia (UK)
The Temp introduces the brilliant mind and fragile body of genius sleuth Salvador ‘Sal’ Blatch in a book that blends amateur detective traditions with the grit of modern police procedurals.
Luke’s background includes support and investigative roles for specialised crime
Unveiled Threats – Stephanie Light (UK)
The story moves between Afghanistan and London as Captain Mary Petersen becomes involved in a plot to uncover terrorists in the UK whilst trying to protect a battered wife from her murderous husband and his fellow plotters.
Stephanie has written two humorous weekly newspaper columns, plus articles as diverse as oil exploration, environmental matters, and trafficking of Eastern European women. She returned from living in India last year and is currently putting the finishing touches to her first novel.
What Hidden Lies – Michele Rowe (South Africa)
A tense psychological mystery set on the spectacular Cape Town coast. Detective Persephone ‘Persey’ Jonas is caught between the new South Africa and her past in the old township as she joins forces with a criminal psychologist to investigate the death of an alleged child molester.
Michele is a scriptwriter for television and film. Projects she has researched, originated, written or directed have been nominated for, or won, various International awards. This is her first novel.