Sunday, November 23, 2008


I missed this news until I spotted it on the author's Swedish site so perhaps others might have missed it as well.
The International Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere was won this year by Camilla Lackberg for The Ice Princess reviewed here, this award has a very distinguished list of past winners.
Arnaldur Indridason won it in 2007 for the multiple prize winning Voices reviewed here.

Other past winners have included Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Michael Connelly, Elizabeth George, Frances Fyfield, P.D. James, Tony Hillerman and Elmore Leonard; exalted company. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm quite surprised. Having just finished the Ice Princess, it didn't strike me as that good a book, quite a drag to read. The core 'mystery' was ok but it was the 'chic lit' (rather what I perceive to be) aspect that got to me but then it might principally be aimed at a female audience, so not me then. What is it with Lackberg's obsession with hair, style and state of... Then all the 'he man' blokes, what a cliche'.
Perhaps in subsequent books Lackberg might have decided what side of the fence she is on but doubt I for one will bother finding out.
Indridason on the other hand is in a different league.


10:19 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

The 'chic lit' was the aspect that caused a quarrel between Camilla Lackberg and author and Professor of Criminology Leif G.W. Persson some months ago.

I agree that Indridason is superior but Lackberg sells enormous numbers of books in Sweden, up there with Stieg Larsson.
Her translator Reg Keeland says that number 3 in the series is very good, and he has translated Henning Mankell so I will continue with the series.

We all vary in our opinions I have recently heavily criticized a book that two other reviewers are pushing for the Ellis Peters Award. That is part of the fun of reading and commenting.

See links below for more information:


12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Norm, I didn't know this - and I like the author picture you have snuck in there ;-)

I did enjoy the Ice Princess - I agree with anon that it was a bit too much of a romantic novel but I thought it was a good mystery. I'll definitely be reading the next one to see how this author develops.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I snuck that author picture in there purely for the information of readers. :O)

1:17 PM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

I've been all around the houses trying to find out just who decides this award and if there is a shortlist. Couldn't find any details re the process at all. Anyway, I think this augurs ill, just as do those appalling cover blurbs we have to put with these days, especially the ones from other crime writers, and the generally uncritical nature of crime fiction reviews. A couple of things about Lackberg's book. Half the book is taken up with a parallel love story -- not a subplot, not occasional romantic interludes for the 'heroine' of the book, but a separate story that reads as if it could have been published as a Mills and Boon novelette. After a while, it dawned on me that we were going to go back and forth between two stories, and I simply scanned the romantic sections. Second, Lackberg has the idea that one way of building suspense is to have her heroine, or someone, periodically declare that she has discovered a vital clue, usually at the end of a chapter, but then not tell anyone -- including the reader. This sort of writing is naive, it breaks one immutable rule, and together with the parallel romantic tale, leads to something oddly like a variation on the Ethel Lina White school of suspense. Instead of "Had I but known", we have "Now that I know...but you don't." Well, enough, for there's a lot that could be said, but I just want to zero in on one paragraph I thought very telling indeed. Erica Falck is a writer and clearly Lackberg's alter ego. At one point she is mulling her next book and says she has the idea of writing a crime novel that will stand the genre on its head -- it will explore the psychological aspects of crime. Oh really? So much for forty years of Ruth Rendell and others who have followed in her wake, and that may be the problem -- Lackberg, thinking crime fiction a cheap ride, hasn't studied the literature, hasn't learned her craft. I'm not altogether surprised the book proved popular, but I'm curious about the demographics of her fans. This could well start a trend -- novels that are in part crime fiction and in part old-fashioned romance/suspense, and fair enough, if covers and reviews point that out, and if blurbing authors do no mislead us, but that is the heart of the problem, and awards are becoming a bit of a problem to boot. Shoddy needs to be separated from fine stuff.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks for comments Philip. I did quite enjoy The Ice Princess as you will see from my review but it was certainly not in the class of Theorin or Indridason. Her chic lite crime fiction has put seoras off completely but as with Stieg Larsson I am expecting books 2 and 3 to be superior efforts. At the moment her style and her clone like male characters do seem to prevent her reaching the very top rank. Although she reaches no 1 in sales in Sweden so I suppose she does not mind not being rated by critics.
I don't mind being not informed of a fact at the end of a chapter in order to achieve suspense, but when it is carried on chapter by chapter and overdone it is irritating. I don't like authors that cheat I vaguely remember there was a William Landay book narrated in the first person which did not inform the reader of vital facts from page one till the last few pages.
I felt the romance contrasted with and highlighted the terrible crimes and wondered if that was the reason for that theme. The problem was that three male characters were virtually identical. Maybe I am being too analytical and Ms Lackberg just wanted to write some romance to draw in a younger readership.
Please don't get me started on blurbs and reviews. I am still fuming at a review of Maze of Cadiz that compares the book with Casablanca. Well Cadiz and Casablanca are both ports on the Atlantic, but I vow to go into a monastery if anyone can show me a character in the book that can be played by Bogart, Henreid or Bergman!

3:13 AM  

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