Thursday, April 15, 2021

Britain Draws Its Daggers

Earlier today, the British Crime Writers’ Association announced the longlists of nominees for its 2021 Dagger Awards, “the premier literary crime-writing awards in the United Kingdom.” The CWA’s shortlists for these same commendations are expected to be released on May 20, with the winners to be declared on July 1.

Gold Dagger:
Stone Cold Trouble, by Amer Anwar (Dialogue)
Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Headline)
The Curator, by M.W. Craven (Constable)
City of Ghosts, by Ben Creed (Welbeck)
Peace, by Garry Disher (Viper)
Arrowood and the Thames Corpses, by Mick Finlay (HQ)
House of Correction, by Nicci French (Simon & Schuster)
Troubled Blood, by Robert Galbraith (Sphere)
The Postscript Murders, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
The Silver Collar, by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder & Stoughton)
The House of Lamentations, by S.G. Maclean: (Quercus)
The Other Girl, by C.D. Major (Thomas & Mercer)
Midnight Atlanta, by Thomas Mullen (Little, Brown)
Execution, by S.J. Parris (Harper Fiction)
Making Wolf, by Tade Thompson (Constable)
The Dead of Winter, by Nicola Upson (Faber and Faber)
We Begin at the End, by Chris Whitaker (Zaffre)
The Hidden Girls, by Rebecca Whitney (Mantle)

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:
Box 88, by Charles Cumming (Harper Fiction)
Troubled Blood, by Robert Galbraith (Sphere)
The System, by Ryan Gattis (Picador)
Song for the Dark Times, by Ian Rankin (Orion)
Blood Red City, by Rod Reynolds (Orenda)
Watch Him Die, by Craig Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
When She Was Good, by Michael Robotham (Sphere)
The Nothing Man, by Catherine Ryan Howard (Atlantic)
The Devil and the Dark Water, by Stuart Turton (Raven)
One by One, by Ruth Ware (Harvill Secker)
The Dead Line, by Holly Watt (Raven)
We Begin at the End, by Chris Whitaker (Zaffre)

John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger:
The Creak on the Stairs, by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir (Orenda)
The Silence, by Susan Allott (Borough)
The Silent Daughter, by Emma Christie (Welbeck)
The Chalet, by Catherine Cooper (Harper Fiction)
City of Ghosts, by Ben Creed (Welbeck)
Under Violent Skies, by Judi Daykin (Joffe)
The One That Got Away, by Egan Hughes (Sphere)
The Bone Jar, by S W Kane (Thomas & Mercer)
Cuddies Strip, by Rob McInroy (Ringwood Press)
What’s Left of Me Is Yours, by Stephanie Scott
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Fortune Favours the Dead, by Stephen Spotswood (Wildfire)
Three Fifths, by John Vercher (Pushkin Press)
Hermit, by S.R. White (Headline)

Sapere Books Historical Dagger:
Justice for Athena, by J.M. Alvey (Canelo)
Snow, by John Banville (Faber and Faber)
Midnight at Malabar House, by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)
Riviera Gold, by Laurie R. King (Allison & Busby)
The Unwanted Dead, by Chris Lloyd (Orion Fiction)
Execution, by S.J. Parris (Harper Fiction)
The Night of Shooting Stars, by Ben Pastor (Bitter Lemon Press)
The City Under Siege, by Michael Russell (Constable)
Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons, by David S. Stafford
(Allison & Busby)
Chaos, by A.D. Swanston (Bantam Press)
The Dead of Winter, by Nicola Upson (Faber and Faber)
The Mimosa Tree Mystery, by Ovidia Yu (Constable)

Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger:
Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman, translated by Neil Smith (Michael Joseph)
The Coral Bride, by Roxanne Bouchard, translated by David
Warriner (Orenda)
Greed, by Marc Elsberg, translated by Simon Pare (Black Swan)
The Disaster Tourist, by Yun Ko-eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler (Serpent’s Tail)
The March Fallen, by Volker Kutscher, translated by Niall Sellar (Sandstone Press)
Three, by D.A. Mishani, translated by Jessica Cohen (Riverrun)
The Kingdom, by Jo Nesbø, translated by Robert Ferguson
(Harvill Secker)
The Secret Life of Mr. Roos, by Håkan Nesser, translated by Sarah Death (Mantle)
To Cook a Bear, by Mikael Niemi, translated by Deborah
Bragan-Turner (MacLehose Press)
The Seven Doors, by Agnes Ravatn, translated by Rosie
Hedger (Orenda)
Elly, by Maike Wetzel, translated by Lyn Marven (Scribe)

Short Story Dagger:
• “A Dog Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas,” by Robert Scragg (from Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Robert Scragg; Robert Scragg)
• “Deathbed,” by Elle Croft (from Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg; Robert Scragg)
• “Daddy Dearest,” by Dominic Nolan (from Afraid of the Light)
• “Especially at Christmas,” by Adam Southward (from Afraid of the Christmas Lights)
• “Head Count,” by Christopher Fowler (from First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books, edited by David Headley and Daniel Gedeon; The Dome Press)
• “Hunted,” by Victoria Selman (from Afraid of the Christmas Lights)
• “Monsters,” by Clare Mackintosh (from First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books)
• “Murder Most Vial,” by Stuart Turton (from First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books)
• “One of These Nights,” by Livia Llewelyn (from Cutting Edge: Noir Stories by Women, edited by Joyce Carol Oates; Pushkin Press)
• “Planting Nan,” by James Delargy (from Afraid of the Light)
• “The Foot of the Walk Murders,” by Simpson Grears (from The Foot of the Walk Murders, edited by Simpson Grears; Rymour)

ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-fiction:
Written in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We Leave Behind, by Sue Black (Doubleday)
The Prison Doctor: Women Inside, by Amanda Brown (HQ)
We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence, by Becky Cooper (Heinemann)
Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club, edited by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club)
These Are Not Gentle People, by Andrew Harding (MacLehose Press)
Dancing with the Octopus: The Telling of a True Crime, by Debora Harding (Profile)
The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us, by Nick Hayes (Bloomsbury Circus)
Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy, by Ben MacIntyre (Viking)
Hell in the Heartland: A True Story of Murder and Two Missing Girls, by Jax Miller (HarperCollins)
The Peer and the Gangster: A Very British Cover-up, by Daniel Smith (The History Press)
Operation Morthor: The Last Great Mystery of the Cold War, by Ravi Somaiya (Viking)
The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story, by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury Circus)
No Return: The True Story of How Martyrs Are Made, by Mark Townsend (Guardian)

Dagger in the Library (“for a body of work by an established crime writer that has long been popular with borrowers from libraries”):
• Lin Anderson
• Nicci French
• Lisa Jewell
• Erin Kelly
• Peter May
• Denise Mina
• Margaret Murphy
• James Oswald
• L.J. Ross
• C.L. Taylor

Publishers’ Dagger (“awarded annually to the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year”):
• Bitter Lemon Press
• Faber and Faber
• Harper Fiction
• Head of Zeus
• Michael Joseph
• No Exit Press
• Orenda
• Pushkin Vertigo
• Raven
• Sphere
• Viper

All of these contenders deserve enthusiastic applause. But I’m particularly pleased to see Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End (the U.S. edition of which is certainly one of the best novels I’ve read this year) and Ben Creed’s City of Ghosts being nominated twice for Daggers, and both Stuart Turton’s The Devil and the Dark Water and Thomas Mullen’s Midnight Atlanta—two among my favorite books from 2020—earning spots in one Dagger category apiece.

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