Congratulations to Colin Cotterill, winner of the Dagger in the Library

The 2009 CWA discussion on this blog has entirely concerned the International Dagger, so I'll now hastily remedy that situation by offering my congratulations to Colin Cotterill, who has won the 2009 "Dagger in the Library" award. Just as "international" does not mean "international" but "translated into English", the Dagger in the library is not for the most-borrowed book or author, but "the author of crime fiction whose work is currently giving the greatest enjoyment to library users", as nominated by reading groups and judged by a panel of librarians. This year, the judges said of Colin and his books: "An unusual hero in an unusual setting. Quirky, funny and very appealing. His books are a truly beautiful read."

I have reviewed the first three of Colin Cotterill's books for Euro Crime, and am particularly enamoured of their central character, retired doctor and Laos's only coroner, Siri Paiboun, who is in his 70s: I love his outlook on life, his stoicism and dealings with the repressive regime under which he lives, his eccentric little band of colleagues and friends, and the cases he solves in an increasingly magical and surreal world. Above all, the books are very funny, and symbolise the freedom of the spirit that utter poverty, privation and oppression cannot crush.

My reviews of the books are here: The Coroner's Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, and Disco for the Departed. There are three more books in the series (so far) that I have yet to read: Anarchy and Old Dogs, Curse of the Pogo Stick (these two reviews are at Reviewing the Evidence), and The Merry Misogynist.

Colin is a man of many talents, one of which is that he's a cartoonist, as is evident from his website. He's recently started blogging at International Crime Authors Reality Check, a group effort along with Barbara Nadal, Christopher G. Moore and Matt Beynon Rees. Check out this post of Colin's for the story of the title you will never see.

My congratulations once more to Colin. I'm delighted for him that he's won this award, and hope it leads more people to discover his novels.