My review highlights of 2009

Eu3 Karen Meek, suprema of Euro Crime, has collected her reviewers' (Pat Austin, Paul Blackburn, Amanda Brown, Maxine Clarke, Amanda Gillies, Terry Halligan, Geoff Jones, Karen Meek, Michelle Peckham, Norman Price, Laura Root and Rik Shepherd) favourite reads of 2009 in this Euro Crime page.

For Euro Crime purposes, novels by North American authors were not included. So my complete list of 13, my usual baker's dozen, including authors from this region, is reproduced below. The list, which is alphabetical, consists of reviews that were published in 2009, not necessarily books that were published in that year. The asterisks represent authors who were new to me last year.

Translated into English:

Thriller: Missing by Karin Alvtegen (translator Anna Paterson) (Sweden)
Intensely exciting story of a young woman fugitive racing to prove her innocence.

[I discovered this author last year and read all four of her translated novels. It was almost impossible to choose between them; if I had read one per year for the past four years, each would have made my list for that year. Shadow and Betrayal are particularly good, also.]

Series novel: The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri (translator Stephen Sartarelli) (Italy)
Vengeful tragedy overshadows the Sicilian sun in a typically eccentric Montalbano investigation.

*Psychological: The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr (translator Mike Martin) (Germany)
Journey to the depths of one woman’s mind as repressed memories uncover motives and crimes.

Detection: Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason (translator Victoria Cribb) (Iceland)
Apparent suicide of young historian has resonance in past deaths and disappearances.

*Adventure: Blood Safari by Deon Meyer (translator K. L Seegers) (S Africa)
Bodyguard turns detective in road trip to find a woman’s long-lost brother.

*Suspense: Back to the Coast by Saskia Noort (translator Laura Vroomen) (The Netherlands)
Rock musician finds her life turned upside down by malevolent stalker.

*Private Eye: The Consorts of Death by Gunnar Staalesen (translator Don Bartlett) (Norway)
The 14th in a series is as fresh as new in compelling story of effects of social deprivation.

Gothic: The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin (translator Marlaine Delargy) (Sweden)
History, themes, traditions and emotional dynamics are superbly juxtaposed in island mystery.

English language originals:

Mystery: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves 
Scientific rivalries and local feuds underlie Vera Stanhope’s first case.

Police Procedural: Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly
Harry Bosch out of his natural home in race to find kidnapped child.

Thriller: The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
Journalist’s last assignment reveals horrific series of crimes.

*Legal crime: The Coroner by M. J. Hall
Woman on verge of a nervous breakdown determines to obtain justice for abused boy.

*Debut: Publish or Perish by Margot Kinberg
Classic mystery engagingly told against background of academic skulduggery.

All the books I reviewed in 2009 are collected here.

I very much enjoyed most of the books I reviewed last year. Just to mention a few more by name as highly recommended: the three novels I reviewed by Inger Frimansson; The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser; Shooting Star by Peter Temple; and The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg (reviews of all can be accessed via my 2009 reviews page). I have not included the two novels by Stieg Larsson that I reviewed last year, partly because I think they have to be read as a trilogy and don't work well as stand-alones, and partly because my favourite is the first in the series, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which I reviewed in 2008. All three novels are jolly good, though.

Kerrie has collected a list of favourite reads by readers of her blog, Mysteries in Paradise. She received 541 recommendations of titles from 56 readers: the full list is here.