Tuesday, March 11, 2008


The Web site Mystery Ink is out with its nominees for the 7th Annual Gumshoe Awards.

This year’s contenders are as follows:Best Mystery:• Tin Roof Blowdown, by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)• The Unquiet, by John Connolly (Atria)•Mistress of the Art of Death, by Ariana Franklin (Putnam)• The Shotgun Rule, by Charlie Huston (Ballantine)• What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman (Morrow) [info from The Rap Sheet]

This is an incredibly strong lineup and I have three of these on my shelf and one on order.

But as usual I like to look for something controversial to get my teeth, such as they are, into, and David Montgomery of Crime Fiction Dossier was kind enough to supply me some raw meat.

After a great deal of discussion, we decided to eliminate the category for Best European Crime Novel. It was never a strength of the Gumshoes, and I'm not a fan in general of that type of niche award. (Same thing goes for Best Paperback, etc.)

Well after reading the phrase "It was never a strength of the Gumshoes" I just had to look up who had won the Gumshoe Best European Crime Novel in the three years it was awarded.

Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum and Robert Wilson were the winners, and nominees included Arnaldur Indridason, Fred Vargas and Gianrico Carofiglio.

It seems to me that the judges for that Gumshoe Award really knew their stuff and this is one award that should have been retained.

Are there too many awards for crime fiction?

What about niche awards?

I am in favour of these as long as the niche is strictly defined, and "historical" mysteries are not set in the 1950s or 1960s in order to make me feel very old.

So it is well done to Ariana Franklin for setting her historical novels in the 12th century.

What do you think are there now too many awards so that it would take weeks just to read the winners yet alone the nominees?

Or is it all the more the merrier, and eventually will we have a Best Mystery Novel written by a Male over the age 60 set north of Watford Gap prize?

[The photo shows that while Devon is a great holiday destination and a lovely place to live occasionally the tide comes in.]


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

What Devon? That photograph is of Venice with a truck.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or maybe "best blog post written by retired balding health-care professional living south of Gatwick Airport"?
Great post, Norm -- all I can say to the Euro decision is, "huh"?!?!?!

2:26 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

I very much agree with Maxine that this is a great post, as per usual. David Montgomery's reasoning seems to me quite sound, although I don't think he'd be very pleased, given that my list of favoured American crime fiction writers is relatively short, for thinking so. The way around this, his aversion to splitting hairs notwithstanding, may be to have two categories: American Crime Fiction and European Crime Fiction. That supposes that 'European' subsumes 'British' -- if not, British Crime Fiction could be a third, and one argument for equating 'European' with 'the Continent' is that it would provide a guide for the more casual reader to what is available in translation. 'American' and 'European' are very different schools of crime fiction, and this would discriminate only according to character, not excellence, and would thus obviate David's other argument.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks very much for your comments Maxine and Philip,I will have another short post up on this subject soon.

No Peter it is not Aqua Alta, more like Aqua Drains.

12:54 PM  

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