The 2008 CWA Duncan Lawrie International Dagger has been won by Dominique Manotti with Lorraine Connection. Another four books were on the shortlist. In alphabetical order they were:
|Andrea Camilleri (Italy)||The Patience of the Spider (Picador, Macmillan)||Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli|
|Stieg Larsson (Sweden)||The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (MacLehose Press, Quercus)||Translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland|
|Martin Suter (Switzerland)||A Deal with the Devil ( EuroCrime, Arcadia Books)||Translated from the German by Peter Millar|
|Fred Vargas (France)||This Night's Foul Work (Harvill Secker, Random House)||Translated from the French by Sîan Reynolds|
An innovation this year was the Daggers forum where you could discuss the books shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. This forum remains open to discuss the outcome.
Here are more details about the shortlisted books, and why the judges chose them:
Judges’ comments: ‘The judges were impressed by the evocation of a complete local world, by the skill with which the characters are distinguished, and, of course, by the creation of a believable Sicilian dialect.’
Synopsis: When a local girl goes mysteriously missing, the whole community takes an interest in the case. Why are the kidnappers so sure that the girl's impoverished father and dying mother will be able to find a fortune? The ever-inquisitive Chief Inspector Montalbano steps in, to get to the heart of the matter in his own inimitable style.
Andrea Camilleri is one of Italy's most famous contemporary writers. His Montalbano series has been adapted for Italian television and translated into nine languages. He lives in Rome.
Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator. He is also the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Open Vault. He lives in France.
Judges’ comments: ‘It is rare for a novelist to be able to combine a range of odd characters; social breadth; and the detail of financial markets, especially in what bankers call ‘a point of compromise’. Larsson’s death robs us of a new, yet mature, voice in fiction.’
Synopsis: Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared off the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family. There was no corpse, no witnesses, no evidence. But her uncle, Henrik, is convinced that she was murdered by someone in her own family - the deeply dysfunctional Vanger clan. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired to investigate, but when he links Harriet's disappearance to a string of gruesome murders from forty years ago, he needs a competent assistant - and he gets one: computer hacker Lisbeth Salander - a tattoed, truculent, angry girl who rides a motorbike like a Hell's Angel and handles makeshift weapons with the skill born of remorseless rage. This unlikely pair form a fragile bond as they delve into the sinister past of this island-bound, tightly-knit family. But the Vangers are a secretive lot, and Mikael and Lisbeth are about to find out just how far they're prepared to go to protect themselves - and each other.
Stieg Larsson was for twenty years graphics editor at a Swedish news agency. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the anti-racist magazine Expo from 1999. He was one of the world’s leading experts on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organisations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the three manuscripts of the Millennium Trilogy to a Swedish publisher.
Reg Keeland is an experienced translator from Swedish.
Judges’ comments: ‘Friedrich Glauser was a pioneering Swiss writer of crime fiction, and the national award bears his name. In this novel Suter pays literary homage which modernises Glauser’s plot and setting, while extending it into an original conception of his own.’
Synopsis: Sonia Frey fears for her sanity. Her marriage ended in divorce after her husband tried to kill her. On top of this, an acid trip has disordered her senses - she can now ‘feel’ smells, ‘see’ sounds.
To escape these worries, she takes a job as a physiotherapist at a newly re-opened hotel in a remote Alpine village. However, a series of unusual events throws her into disarray once more. The mystery deepens as she discovers a parallel to these occurrences in local folkloric tales of the supernatural. Can the legend of the Devil of Milan really be true? Or is the thruth more sinister? Sonia's mind, already under pressure from her strange sensory awareness, is stretched to breaking point by the climate of paranoia developing around her.
Martin Suter is of Swiss-German origin and now lives with his wife in Spain and Guatemala. He is the author of five novels. Small World was published by Harvill Secker in 2001, and A Deal with the Devil, originally published in German, was the winner of the 2007 Friedrich Glauser Prize for best new crime novel. His books are published in twenty countries.
Peter Millar is an award-winning journalist, author and translator. Millar was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year for his reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He is the author of Tomorrow Belongs to Me, an oral history of post-war Germany, and four popular fiction novels.
Judges’ comments: ‘No one writes like Fred Vargas, and her invention is unflagging. This novel takes Adamsberg and his team into the wilds of upper Normandy, and deep into the medieval past of relics and alchemy.’
Synopsis: On the edge of Paris two small-time drug dealers have had their throats cut in a peculiar fashion. Setting out on the trail of the shadowy killer, Commissaire Adamsberg and his detectives travel between Paris and the Normandy countryside. Adamsberg’s investigation into these horrible deaths brings him into contact with the attractive Ariane Lagarde –a pathologist who caused him professional grief some twenty-five years ago. There’s also a new lieutenant on the scene, whose ties to Adamsberg’s past create tension and hostility in his present.
Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of Frédérique Audouin-Rouzeau, who was born in Paris in 1957. (Fred is not unusual in France as an abbreviation of this feminine name.) As well as being a best-selling author in France, she is by training a mediaeval archaeologist. Her books have been translated into thirty-two languages. She has won the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger twice.
Sîan Reynolds is a historian, translator, and former professor at the University of Stirling. She has written several academic texts and her translations from the French include books by Fernand Braudel and Claude Lévi-Strauss. She lives in Edinburgh.
Further details may be obtained from the CWA Dagger Liaison Officer, Mike Stotter, by emailing . Any queries should also be addressed to him.
Adrian Muller (non-voting Chair) – organiser of CrimeFest, a new international crime fiction convention being held in Bristol this June. (www.crimefest.com)
Peter Guttridge – crime writer and the crime fiction reviewer for the Observer
Ruth Morse – has written about post-colonial crime fiction, and is a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement
Susanna Yager – the crime fiction reviewer for The Sunday Telegraph