Saturday, July 12, 2008

THE FRENCH CONNECTION





The Crime Writer's Association made their annual awards on Thursday at a black tie dinner at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane. Not having either a black tie or evening attire that I can squeeze into Crime Scraps was not present. 

The Duncan Lawrie Dagger went to Frances Fyfield for Blood from Stone. I have never read Ms Fyfield, and as two of the other contenders Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know and James Lee Burke's The Tin Roof Blowdown sit unread on my TBR shelf  I am not qualified to comment, although I have read some surprise at the choice.

But I have read another of the nominees A Vengeful Longing by Roger Morris and really enjoyed his very intelligent novel, see review here.

Tom Rob Smith won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Child 44, and is yet another author educated at Dulwich College. He donated his prize money cheque to the National Library for the Blind.

Matt Benyon Rees won the John Creasey New Blood Dagger for The Bethlehem Murders, for which Child 44 was also nominated. Matt's first book was published in the USA under the title The Collaborator of Bethlehem, a change of title which must say something about the different political stances on either side of the Atlantic. Matt who lives in Jerusalem was worried about how he as going to get a 'dagger' through airport security. Another book on the Everest I call the TBR mountain.

The Duncan Lawrie  International Dagger was the award that I was particularly interested in as a registered European translated crime nut. 
I have read two and three quarters of the five nominees which I think is probably more than most apart from the judges. 
This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas, review here, was suitably quirky, full of character and plot to be a possible winner but  I assumed the judges would give someone else the prize after two successive wins by the medieval archaeologist.

Despite my admiration for Andrea Camilleri, and his brilliant creation Salvo Montalbano, it was clear that The Patience of the Spider was not quite up to his usual standard, see review here, and did not deserve to win.

The highly rated Stieg Larsson and the Martin Suter books sit unread on that TBR mountain, but I am engrossed at the moment in the winner Lorraine Connection written by Dominique Manotti and translated from the French by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz.
Unfortunately Dominique Manotti [photo from CWA website] had not recovered fully  from a fall from her horse, which caused multiple injuries, earlier in the year. Co-translator Ros Schwartz, who was one of the stars of Crime Fest 2008 in Bristol, accepted the award on Dominique's behalf.
Lorraine Connection is a very hard hitting taut crime thriller that covers a lot of ground with all the ingredients you expect from a French writer. 
I have about eighty pages to go and so far it appears to be a worthy winner. I will post a review next week. 

3 Comments:

OpenID maxine said...

I've enjoyed reading Frances Fyfield, she is probably more in the tradition of Ruth Rendell, P D James and Patricia Highsmith than the authors you name here, so make of that what you will!
I enjoyed the first book by Manotti, Rough Trade. I am a bit surprised that the Stieg Larson was up against it rather than being in the first novel category, but I don't know how it is decided what to put on which list.
Natasha Cooper has written a piece in the Times today about the Theakstons's Old Peculier prize being too male-dominated (reminds me of an old post I once wrote!). You can't say that for the Daggers, this year.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I remember that one you were dismantling an all male list by David Montgomery, who had forgotten a few female crime writers.
I can't get the link to work to that article but will try tomorrow.
Mrs Crime Scraps got the newspaper today and she as an ex Guardianista convert always gets the Daily Torygraph.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

A great gathering of thoughts there, Norm. I will now look up the DT article...

3:19 PM  

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