A few thoughts about the Dagger shortlists

As usual late to the party, the shortlists for the "Specsaver ITV3 crime and thriller Dagger awards" have been announced today (approx). ITV3's web page for what they call the "bestseller" award is here, where you can see videos of the nominees Martina Cole, Dick Francis, Nicci French, Alexander McCall Smith and Harlan Coben. Tough call – I'm tending to Nicci French but possibly Harlan Coben might sneak up on them. I am not sure at this stage whether these awards are for a particular book or for a body of work by these authors. I suppose I'll have to go and watch some of those videos to find out.

By the way, the same ITV3 web page contains a video "hall of fame": Ruth Rendell, Lynda La Plante, P D James, Colin Dexter, Val McDermid and Ian Rankin all talk about their novels. Tempting for the next time I have a spare half-hour (probably never).

Perhaps more interesting than "bestselling" is the CWA Gold Dagger prize, for the "crime novel of the year". The shortlist for 2009 is:

Kate Atkinson: When Will There Be Good News? (Black Swan/Transworld)
Mark Billingham: In the Dark (Little, Brown)
Lawrence Block: Hit and Run (Orion)
William Broderick: A Whispered Name (Little, Brown)
MR Hall: The Coroner (Pan Macmillan)
Gene Kerrigan: Dark Times In The City (Harvill Secker)

Of these, I've read only The Coroner and Dark Times in the City, and I am completely stumped as to which I'd choose if I were a judge as they are both fantastic crime novels. I suppose I will have to read the other four now. I really enjoyed Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, so perhaps I'll soon embark on When Will There be Good News, not least because, surprisingly, she is the only woman author on this shortlist.

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7 thoughts on “A few thoughts about the Dagger shortlists

  1. Broderick’s novel is splendid –but for the life of me–
    I never considered it to be a crime novel.It involves-
    investigations-into allegations of desertion in the
    first world war-as that was a crime –I suppose it qualifies.
    Tenuous in my view–But crime or not –well worth the read.

  2. That’s odd, Simon and Martin, so they have gone for two out of six that aren’t “straight down the line” crime novels. I’d like to see a list of eligible titles that weren’t chosen, for comparison!

  3. I have read Hit and Run and When Will There Be Good News?. I bow to nobody in my admiration for Lawrence Block but the Hitman series is an acquired taste and I am surprised to see Hit and Run on the list, terrific though it was – http://is.gd/320oK – Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie “trilogy” is outstanding and When Will There be Good News is right up there in my list of favourites. I will be rooting for her.

  4. I have only read The Coroner, but based on my knowledge about four of the authors I´d vote for M.R. Hall and Atkinson.

  5. Maxine,
    Your comment on my blog has led me to your blog, which is wonderful!
    Re the six gold dagger nominations: I haven’t read either of the titles that you’ve read, but I have read the Kate Atkinson & the Lawrence Block. The Atkinson was very good, but, IMHO, fell short of the sheer brilliance of CASE HISTORIES. The Block, on the other hand, I thought was really outstanding.

  6. Thanks, Roberta, and lovely to see you here. I enjoy your blog very much, too! Thanks for the tip – I have only ever read one book by Lawrence Block and am not sure why I haven’t read more – he is so highly regarded. So, now is my chance to make good.

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