The CWA's 2004 John Creasey Dagger Award
Mark Mills wins with Amagansett
At the CWA awards lunch Jan Paterson of BBC Audiobooks presented Mark Mills with a cheque for £1000 and the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, for his novel Amagansett published by Fourth Estate. This award is for first books by previously unpublished writers, and is sponsored by BBC Audio Books.
'A very well written and atmospheric novel, set on Long Island in 1947. A fisherman finds the body of his lover in his nets...'
The paperback edition of this book was retitled The Whaleboat House.
Mark Mills is a screenwriter whose film credits include The Reckoning, an adaptation of Barry's Unsworth's Morality Play. Amagansett is his first novel. He is currently researching his next novel, set in a colonial community in Java in the late nineteenth century.
Amagansett, a small fishing town near the tip of Long Island, off the east coast of America, is a place Mark Mills knows well, having visited it repeatedly over the past 15 years. Generations have followed the same calling as their forefathers, fishing the dangerous Atlantic waters but the stability of the local community is shattered when the body of a beautiful New York socialite turns up in the fishermen's nets. The story is set in 1947 and captures the life of a community whose way of life is disappearing, its demise hastened by war in Europe and the incursions of wealthy city dwellers in search of a playground.
The other shortlisted titles are listed below in alphabetical order of the author's name:
Denise Hamilton - The Jasmine Trade - Orion
'Eve Diamond, a reporter working in an Asian suburb of Los Angeles finds herself embroiled in the shady world of 'parachute kids', which are neglected Chinese children from rich families, living in America. There is prostitution, illegal immigration and violence in this original first novel.'
Catherine Shaw - The Three Body Problem - Allison & Busby
'An unusual novel set in Cambridge in 1888. The story revolves around the murder of three mathematicians. The central character is Vanessa, a schoolmistress, whose lover is accused of the killings. A well-structured epistolary novel, in which life and murder imitate the interference of orbiting bodies on each other.'
Stav Sherez - The Devil's Playground - Penguin Michael Joseph
'An ambitious hard core crime novel, set in contemporary Amsterdam, where 49 newly discovered cans of film from Auschwitz become implicated in a number of serial killings. The book ably handles complex issues of morality.'
Jonathan Gash - author of the Lovejoy series.
Liza Cody - who herself won the Creasey in 1980 and the Silver in 1992. She's also a painter and tours with Peter Lovesey and Mike Lewin doing crime-related performances.
Laura Wilson - author of The Lover which is short listed this year for the Ellis Peters, and lives in London.