This year the CWA judges did an excellent job in picking Johan Theorin's The Darkest Room as the winner of the International Dagger. Obviously a lot of thought had gone into the make up of the short list.
The previous year's list had been made up of 5 Nordic books, and the one French winner. Perhaps in 2010 the judges wanted both a more varied type, and wider geographical spread from the shortlisted novels.
Twenty Nine books have been nominated for the International Dagger since its inception in 2006. The chart on the left shows the original languages of the books.
Interestingly 18 of the 29 were written in French or Swedish. Yasmina Khadra, who has been nominated twice [2006, 2007] is an Algerian, but lives in France and writes in French. So one could regard Deon Meyer's Thirteen Hours written in Afrikaans, and translated by K.L. Seegers, as the only fully non-European book among the twenty nine.
Interestingly although this year Johan Theorin was the first man to win the award no male translator has ever won. Marlaine Delargy was Theorin's translator, Ros Schwartz and Amanda Hopkinson won in 2008, and Sian Reynolds has won three times.
Translator Steven Murray [aka Reg Keeland] has been nominated five times, but has failed to win so far. Thanks to the hard work of Karen Meek of Euro Crime, who listed the translated novels due to be published during next year's eligibility period [see right hand chart] we can see that publishers are becoming less adventurous.
If Swedish books are popular they are the ones that will get published, and out of 43 books eligible for the 2011 International Dagger, as of 24 July, ten are from Sweden.
Europe dominates the field with only 5 from the rest of the world. Four if you count Turkey as inside Europe.
If excellent books from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East are overlooked because of the "discovery" of Swedish crime fiction it would be a very sad day for crime fiction aficionados.