Progress on reading books eligible for the 2011 International Dagger

My last update on my progress on reading the books eligible for the International Dagger for 2011 was at the end of October last year. To qualify, books have to be translated, and published in the UK between May 2010 and June 2011. Karen continuously updates her essential Euro Crime blog post of eligible titles.

These are the books on the list that I had read when I wrote my last post on the subject (links go to my reviews):

The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Italy)
Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo, translated by Jethro Soutar (Argentina)
Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum, translated by Charlotte Barslund (Norway)
The Inspector and Silence by Hakan Nesser, translated by Laurie Thompson (Sweden)
Red Wolf by Liza Marklund, translated by Neil Smith (Sweden)
River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi, translated by Joseph Farrell (Italy)
Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, translated by Philip Roughton (Iceland)
Silence by Jan Costin Wagner, translated by Anthea Bell (German, setting Finland)
Three Seconds by Roslund-Hellstrom, translated by Kari Dickson (Sweden)
Bunker by Andrea Maria Shenckel, translated by Anthea Bell (Germany)
Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indridason, translated by Victoria Cribb (Iceland).

Since then I have read:

1222 by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Norway)
Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder (Sweden, Euro Crime review submitted)
Shadow Sister by Simone van der Vlugt (The Netherlands, Euro Crime review submitted)
Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End by Leif G W Persson (not reviewed as I did not enjoy it much).

And I have hurled away from me into the electronic sink after getting as far as chapter 3:

The Postcard Killers by Liza Marklund and A. N. Other (may not in any event be eligible, depending on whether it was first written in Swedish or something approximating to English)

I suppose I must by now have read enough titles to think about which, if any, are my front-runners. So far, there are no real stand-outs in the list. Most of the books I’ve read are very good, solid novels, but I would not say that any of them have that extra factor that makes them a potential crime fiction classic (as I am sure novels by Johan Theorin, last year’s winner, will be, for example). My own personal favourites to date (in no special order) are Red Wolf, Frozen Moment and Needle in a Haystack, though there is not much in it. There are still some enticing prospects in the titles that have not yet been published, and the glowing reviews so far of The Leopard make me think it is likely to be a strong contender.

Remaining to read –

Splinter by Sebastian Fitzek (Germany, in my Kindle e-reader via the Amazon £1 per-download Christmas promotion)
The Leopard by Jo Nesbo (Norway, in my Kindle e-reader via Amazon’s e-book of the week promotion)
Villain by Shuichi Yoshida (Japan, not yet purchased)

And not yet published in the UK but which I will or may read:

Basic Shareholder by Petros Markaris
Rendezvous by Esther Verhoef
The Quarry by Johan Theorin (publication date moved so may no longer be eligible for 2011)
The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell
Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar
The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler
The Gallows Bird by Camilla Lackberg
Bandit Love by Massimo Carlotto
Summertime by Mari Jungstedt
Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto
An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
Inquisition by Alfredo Carlitto
Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen
A Short Cut to Paradise by Teresa Solana (updated, thanks to Simon Clarke for pointing out this omission!)

Plus quite a few others, most of which I shan’t read partly for time reasons and partly as they are magical and/or religious-historical, are about serial killers, are said to contain graphic violence, and the like.

My previous posts about the International Dagger.

15 thoughts on “Progress on reading books eligible for the 2011 International Dagger

  1. Maxine.
    It’s so hard to come up with one best book,but so far I have
    read 17 of the list ,and my favourite is A Shortcut to Paradise
    –Teresa Solana-for its originality and relentless wit.

  2. Simon- thank you. I haven’t read A Short Cut to Paradise yet, and absent-mindedly missed it from the post, but based on her Not so Perfect Crime I agree it is likely to be a strong contender. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  3. Maxine – Thanks for sharing your progress. You’ve read some interesting novels even if none of them has really stood out to you as a “must-win.” It’ll be very interesting to see which is the winner. I admit, I’m a Yrsa fan, so I hope Ashes to Dust does well, but we shall see…

  4. Of those that are not out in English yet I have read Camilla Läckberg, Lars Kepler and Jussi Adler-Olsen.

    If any of these stand a chance, I really hope it will be Adler-Olsen (for the most solid crime novel).

    Kepler´s has some good points (exciting pageturner & interesting protagonist) but a spectacular ending which probably won´t be your taste either.

  5. I read Adler-Olsen when I was off sick on Monday. Not spectacular, but you’re right, Dorte, extremely solid crime novel.

    Maxine, I’m interested to hear that you also didn’t like Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End. I read it a few years ago and hated it, and since it’s English publication I don’t think I’ve found a woman who really enjoyed it. It seems to appeal to men more – and I did find the obnoxious masculinity, well, obnoxious.

    Ceder and Kepler are both on my Amazon(.de) wishlist – the local library doesn’t have them, and the train fare to the next available copies is more than they cost on Amazon, so…this is how one builds up an oversized book collection.

  6. Thanks, Lauren – I suppose that the constant misogyny in BWLASE was supposed to be condemning it rather than approving of it, but the author’s reportage-style made it impossible to tell, and it just ground me down in the end (such a long book!). But what I disliked even more was the “nesting”, first one read enormous amounts of detail about a police (or other department) organisation and people, then we were suddenly told that everything that had gone before was wrong and start again here with another sub-organisation or character-set. The book rang the changes between all these organisations and characters until the author had got through them all with his “oh, guess what, this is a double cross” or “this person is actually not what they seem”, until the all-too-inevitable “revelation debut” (x was not x but y – all very mechanical). To think there are 2 more books of this before we are told who is responsible for the Palme assassination (or whatever) was just too much for me to take!

    Margot – I am a Yrsa fan too – I liked Ashes to Dust but for me it did not stand out compared with some of the others, though it is certainly as good.

    Dorte – thanks for the update on the not-yet-translated books.

  7. I very much enjoyed Needle in a Haystack, one of my favourite books last year. I also like A Short Cut to Paradise by Teresa Solana, but Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar is my favourite so far amongst the ones I’ve read. Guess chances are there that at least one of them will be shortlisted. Otherwise I’ll be disappointed.

  8. I’ve only read 3 of these so far (all from the Murray-Nunnally translation factory), but I would heartily recommend Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen, translated by Tiina. Time for the Danes to show the Swedes how to do it.

  9. Lauren, I also hated BSLAWE, but because of the racist attitudes of the sidekick. Disgusting, there’s no excuse for such drivel in this day and age. See, not all men are so predictable.

  10. I have only read 3 eligible books and of those Villain is the best but not as brilliant as last year’s winner (or my own favourite of last year’s shortlist Hypothermia). Sadly I think only 2 or 3 of the whole list have been released in Oz which means any I read have to be procured from overseas rather than being able to borrow any from the library so I am a bit pickier about which ones I will read – books like BWLASE do not tempt me to buy them as you and others have struggled with it. Still I do have 3 of these on my shelves and I noticed that Red Wolf is now out here so I could give that a go too (just started reading Studio 69 which I am enjoying).

  11. A Short Cut to Paradise is now out in UK so I have ordered that, and I am certainly looking forward to Mercy, especially now I know Tiina Nunnally has translated it.

    Thanks for the comment on Villain, Bernadette – I looked at it in a physical bookshop a couple of months ago and was not that inclined to buy it (esp at hardback price!).

    I have very high hopes of the Villar, Jose. I loved his previous book, Water-Blue Eyes.

  12. The Book Depository must be doing booming business. I ordered Solana’s new book from them a few days ago, will read it and pass it on to friends, one of whom now likes these books as much as I do.
    And I ordered Witness the Night, as my library doesn’t have it, and now that it’s won the Costa prize and been so highly recommended here and elsewhere, I must read it, although I worry about the gruesomeness. It sounds very good, though, anyway.

  13. I should note that Norman of Crime Scraps has also expressed strong dislike for the sexism in BWLASE, in his review. So with Steven that makes at least two men who found it distasteful at best. Norman has also previously posted about the author’s outbursts against Camilla Lackberg and Liza Marklund, both of whom had several books translated into English well before Persson did, for being “just pretty faces”. Well, I know whose books I’d rather read!

  14. Pingback: Pre-shortlist update on reading International Dagger possibles | Petrona

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