Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I will think about great books today to take my mind off the terrible events of 7 July 2005, but I have already shed a tear and remembered the 52 victims.

This week I will eliminate two more books from my final four.

August Heat. [by Andrea Camilleri translator Stephen Sartarelli]

Although I love the Inspector Montalbano books of Andrea Camilleri I suspect they may be an acquired taste. August Heat is the tenth book in the series, and unless you have read the previous nine growing up with the characters I don't expect the reader will find the quirkiness as enjoyable as I do. My article on the Picador website Appreciating Camilleri tries to explain my fondness for these books.
August Heat is a pleasant summer read, but I have to admit it lacks both the plot and depth of the other contenders.
I must say it took a lot of willpower to eliminate a book with the line:
"Mullet in onions:served cold a delight."

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest. [by Stieg Larsson translator Reg Keeland]

I am eliminating from contention the very hot favourite [see Karen's polls at Eurocrime] despite the fact that I thought it was a very exciting thriller with a satisfying ending. Hornets' Nest was infinitely superior to the first book in the trilogy because Stieg Larsson had developed from a journalist to a storyteller. In another year with a weaker short list I would regard it as certain winner, but the CWA International Dagger should be all about which is the "best" book that year, not about the book with the biggest sales, or the book with the most influence on the market.
One of the tests I have is how much detail about the plot and characters can I recall several months after I have read a book. The problem with the Larsson books is that Lisbeth Salander, even playing a passive part in this third book, is so memorable that everything else seems a blur.
In my personal opinion the remaining two books are slightly better written crime fiction novels, and they stand alone far better than the Stieg Larsson, which is obviously the third book in a trilogy.

So my final two contenders for the CWA International Dagger are:

[To be continued next week.]


Blogger Bernadette said...

I think your reasoning is very sound Norman. I've yet to read Thirteen Hours (it's next up) and much as I'd like Larsson to win for all sorts of reasons I've eliminated him from my personal consideration for top spot too - I am oscillating between your remaining two also (though will wait until I read the Meyer before voting at Euro Crime).

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - I like your thinking on this one very much. And thanks for your comments about the events of 7 July, 2005; a horrible day, and I wish the victims' families well.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

That would coincide with my ratings Norman- although I haven't yet read all 6

6:22 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Though I have not read them all, I agree that Theorin and Indridason stand extremely strong. They write crime of high quality.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Oh, Norman, we think as one!!! However, I bet you are going to have a jolly hard job deciding between the two you have left - I keep on dithering between them.....great post, love the mullet.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Dorte I agree Indridason has never failed to entrance me, and Theorin's two books are of the highest class.

Maxine, I am still dithering but I will come to a definite decision by next week. Where is that coin? Heads or tails. ;o)

1:37 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It was no hard feat to predict your final two, Nörman, or should I say Nórman?

12:38 AM  
Anonymous The Sub said...

spot on so far... Theorin is excellent, but of the two I believe Arnaldur's Hypothermia will come first, because it's not just brilliant but also sublime.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous seoras said...

Just to offer a counter argument for your remaining two choices, I think the the Indridason to be his weakest. A very slight and weak book, weak in the sense of thin soup, not unpleasant just thin and lacking substance. I hope Indridason regains the plot in future books.
The Theorin I consider a lot better, with considerably more meat on the bone but undecided I feel in direction, crime or horror mystery, I feel Theorin can't decide upon which direction he wishes to head and neither are strong enough to combine the two for a trully memorable book. Though it was an enjoyable enough read.

My choice would be for The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest an excellent end and best book in the trilogy.


8:56 AM  

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