Monday, July 19, 2010

The Other Hammett

I thought we’d already resolved, in May, the question of who won the 2010 Hammett Prize for crime-fiction writing. But apparently, there’s another Hammett Prize, which was given out just last Friday during one of Europe’s largest book festivals, the Semana Negra in the northern Spain town of Gijon. According to Reuters,
The top award of the festival for best crime novel written in Spanish, the Hammett Prize--named after U.S. author Dashiell Hammett--went to Argentine novelist Guillermo Orsi, for his book “La Ciudad Santa” (The Holy City).

Orsi’s book tells of a cruise ship which runs aground in the wide but shallow River Plate, forcing the wealthy passengers to disembark in Buenos Aires, who then become bait for kidnappers.

“A city which, like many another megalopolis, but above all in South America, is riddled with corruption and violence, makes the perfect setting for a crime writer,” Orsi said of the Argentine capital, where he lives.
Unfortunately, The Holy City is not yet available in English. But as Euro Crime’s Karen Meek observes, another of Orsi’s criminal tales, No-one Loves a Policeman (translated by Nick Caistor), was released in Britain this last April by MacLehose Press.

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