Seven books and authors have been named in the first round of nominations for the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Award. This commendation is meant to single out the “best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, [and] published in New Zealand or overseas during the past year.” A panel of judges from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and New Zealand will narrow this list down to three, and those finalists will be announced in July.
So here’s the longlist of contenders:
• Collecting Cooper, by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
• Luther: The Calling, by Neil Cross (Simon & Schuster)
• Furt Bent from Aldaheit, by Jack Eden (Pear Jam Books)
• Traces of Red, by Paddy Richardson (Penguin)
• By Any Means, by Ben Sanders (HarperCollins)
• Bound, by Vanda Symon (Penguin)
• The Catastrophe, by Ian Wedde (Victoria University Press)
Craig Sisterson, the contest’s judging convenor, says he was impressed by the depth of breadth of writing exhibited by these competing works. “This year’s longlist features everything from dark serial killer tales to the latest books in popular detective series, ‘ripped from the headlines’ psychological suspense, and a prequel to one of the most compelling TV crime series of recent years,” Sisterson explains. “We have the mysterious tale of a narcissistic restaurant critic’s kidnapping, penned by New Zealand’s poet laureate, and an engaging debut thriller written under a nom de plume.”
The Marsh Award, now in its third year, is of course named in honor of author Dame Ngaio Marsh, who’s been acclaimed (along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham) as one of the four Queens of Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.