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.