Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Petrona Award 2019 - Shortlist

From the press release which was embargoed until 8.00am today:

Outstanding crime fiction from Denmark, Iceland and Norway shortlisted for the 2019 Petrona Award

Six outstanding crime novels from Denmark, Iceland and Norway have been shortlisted for the 2019 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.

THE ICE SWIMMER by Kjell Ola Dahl, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)
THE WHISPERER by Karin Fossum, tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)
THE KATHARINA CODE by Jørn Lier Horst, tr. Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph; Norway)
THE DARKNESS by Ragnar Jónasson, tr. Victoria Cribb (Penguin Random House; Iceland)
RESIN by Ane Riel, tr. Charlotte Barslund (Doubleday; Denmark)
BIG SISTER by Gunnar Staalesen, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 11 May during the annual international crime fiction convention CrimeFest, held in Bristol on 9-12 May 2019. The winning author and the translator of the winning title will both receive a cash prize, and the winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2020.

The Petrona Award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia, and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his continued generous support of the Petrona Award.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist:

There were 38 entries for the 2019 Petrona Award from six countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, Sweden). The novels were translated by 25 translators and submitted by 24 publishers/imprints. There were 14 female and 20 male authors, and two male-female writing duos.

This year’s Petrona Award shortlist sees Norway strongly represented with four novels; Denmark and Iceland each have one. The crime genres represented include the police procedural, the private investigator novel, psychological crime, literary crime and the thriller.

The Petrona Award judges faced a challenging but enjoyable decision-making process when drawing up the shortlist. The six novels selected by the judges stand out for their writing, characterisation, plotting, and overall quality. They are original and inventive, often pushing the boundaries of genre conventions, and tackle highly complex subjects such as mental health issues, the effects of social and emotional alienation, and failures of policing and justice.

We are extremely grateful to the translators whose expertise and skill allows readers to access these gems of Scandinavian crime fiction, and to the publishers who continue to champion and support translated fiction.

The judges’ comments on each of the shortlisted titles:

THE ICE SWIMMER by Kjell Ola Dahl, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)

Kjell Ola Dahl has achieved international acclaim for his ‘Oslo Detectives’ police procedural series, of which The Ice Swimmer is the latest instalment. When a dead man is found in the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour, Detective Lena Stigersand takes on the investigation while having to deal with some difficult personal issues. With the help of her trusted colleagues Gunnarstranda and Frølich, she digs deep into the case and uncovers possible links to the Norwegian establishment. Once again, Dahl has produced a tense and complex thriller, with his trademark close attention to social issues.

THE WHISPERER by Karin Fossum, tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)

Winner of the prestigious Riverton Award and Glass Key Award for Nordic crime, Karin Fossum is a prolific talent. The Whisperer focuses on the case of Ragna Riegel, an unassuming woman with a complicated emotional history, who has recently been arrested. As Inspector Konrad Sejer delves into her psyche in the course of a claustrophobic interrogation, Fossum slowly reveals the events leading up to Ragna’s crime. This is a highly assured mix of police procedural and psychological thriller, which really gets to the heart of one woman’s mental turmoil, and how easy it is for an individual to become unmoored from society.

THE KATHARINA CODE by Jørn Lier Horst, tr. Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph; Norway)

Jørn Lier Horst’s ‘William Wisting’ novels are distinguished by their excellent characterisation and strong plots. In The Katharina Code, a dormant investigation is reopened when police focus on a missing woman’s husband and his possible involvement in an earlier, apparently unconnected case. Wisting, who has long harboured doubts about the man’s innocence, becomes a somewhat unwilling participant in the surveillance operation. This finely plotted thriller with a strong sense of unresolved justice shows how Lier Horst is as comfortable writing about rural landscapes as urban settings.

THE DARKNESS by Ragnar Jónasson, tr. Victoria Cribb (Penguin Random House; Iceland)

In Ragnar Jónasson’s The Darkness, the first in the 'Hidden Iceland' trilogy, a Reykjavík policewoman on the brink of retirement looks into a final case – the death of Elena, a young Russian woman, which may mistakenly have been labelled a suicide. As much a portrait of its flawed investigator, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir, as of the investigation itself, the novel explores themes ranging from parental estrangement and the costs of emotional withdrawal to the precarious status of immigrants trying to make their way in a new land. The novel’s ending is bold and thought-provoking.

RESIN by Ane Riel, tr. Charlotte Barslund (Doubleday; Denmark)

Ane Riel’s Resin is an ambitious literary crime novel with a remote Danish setting. Narrated mainly from the perspective of Liv, a young girl, it tells the story of three generations of one family, while exploring the complicated factors that can lead individuals to justify and commit murder. Other narrative voices – such as those of Liv’s mother and a neighbour – provide further nuance and depth. A moving meditation on the consequences of social isolation and misguided love, Resin is an innovative novel that offers its readers a keenly observed psychological portrait of a close-knit but dysfunctional family.

BIG SISTER by Gunnar Staalesen, tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books; Norway)

In this highly acclaimed, long-running series, former social worker turned private investigator Varg Veum solves complex crimes which often have a strong historic dimension. In Big Sister, Veum is surprised by the revelation that he has a half-sister, who asks him to look into the whereabouts of her missing goddaughter, a nineteen-year-old trainee nurse. Expertly plotted, with an unsettling, dark undertone, this novel digs deep into Veum’s family past to reveal old secrets and hurts, and is by turns an absorbing and exciting read.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Annie the Detective Fairy

The Rainbow Magic series for younger children (5+) is a phenomenon with dozens if not hundreds of entries. The latest collection comprises four "Discovery Fairies", the third of which caught my eye... I've been working in libraries for over ten years and have often been asked for the 'fairy' books by Daisy Meadows (who is a collection of writers) but this is the first time that I've read one.

Rachel and Kirsty are so excited to meet the Discovery Fairies, who look after some of the most exciting jobs in the world. But when Jack Frost steals Annie the Detective Fairy's magical item, detectives everywhere run out of clues! Can the girls help Annie get it back and help solve mysteries everywhere?

Annie the Detective Fairy's magical notebook has been stolen by Jack Frost. Human girls, Kirsty and Rachel are shrunk to fairy-size and return with Annie to Fairyland to help her get her notebook back. Whilst Jack Frost has the notebook, Detectives will not be able to solve their cases!! Jack has renamed himself Shivershock Bones and his goblin sidekick is Dr Gobson. When the girls and Annie arrive in Fairyland they appear in an incomplete fairy circle - the sixth toadstool (house) and six fairies having just disappeared one day. A real mystery. It takes an unexpected collaboration to solve that mystery and for Annie to get her notebook back.

Annie wears a trench coat and uses a magnifying glass to shrink her human friends. There are brief references to Sherlock Holmes. The mystery is resolved by magic however fairies, humans, goblins and Jack Frost have to work together first sharing their information (clues).

Notable books in the series to come are: the first Boy Fairy (7/19) and a Librarian Fairy (4/20):


Monday, April 01, 2019

New Releases - April 2019

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in April 2019 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). April and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Anthology - Berlin Noir (ed. Thomas Wortche)
• Aird, Catherine - Inheritance Tracks #24 DI C D Sloan, Calleshire
• Barnes, Kerry - The Hunted #1 Hunted
• Beckett, Simon - The Scent of Death #6 Dr David Hunter
• Beech, Louise - Call Me Star Girl
• Berry, Connie - A Dream of Death #1 Kate Hamilton, American antiques dealer
• Brandreth, Gyles - Oscar Wilde and the Return of Jack the Ripper #7 Oscar Wilde
• Brookmyre, Christopher - Fallen Angel
• Casey, Jane - Cruel Acts #8 DC Maeve Kerrigan
• Cole, Karen - Deliver Me
• Collins, Sara - The Confessions of Frannie Langton
• Connolly, John - A Book of Bones #17 Charlie Parker, PI, Maine
• Cross, Mason - What She Saw Last Night (as MJ Cross)
• Cummins, Fiona - The Neighbour
• Davis, Lindsey - A Capitol Death #7 Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco
• Dearman, Lara - Dark Sky Island #2 Jennifer Dorey, journalist & DCI Michael Gilbert, Guernsey
• Delargy, James - 55
• Downing, David -Diary of a Dead Man on Leave
• Elliott, Lexie - The Missing Years
• Erskine, Fiona - The Chemical Detective
• Fields, Helen - Perfect Crime #5 DI Luc Callanach, Edinburgh
• Gibney, Patricia - Final Betrayal #6 Detective Lottie Parker
• Gunnis, Emily - The Girl in the Letter
• Guttridge, Peter - Swimming With the Dead #6 Brighton series
• Halliday, G R - From the Shadows #1 DI Monica Kennedy, Inverness
• Harris, C S - Who Slays the Wicked #14 Sebastian St. Cyr, Regency England
• Herriman, Nancy - A Fall of Shadows #2 Bess Ellyott, Tudor England
• Huber, Anna Lee - An Artless Demise #7 Lady Darby, Scotland, 1830s
• Hunter, Cara - No Way Out #3 DI Adam Fawley, Oxford
• Isaac-Henry, Olivia - Someone You Know
• Jonasson, Ragnar - The Island #2 Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdotti
• Jones, B E - Wilderness
• Jones, Philip Gwynne - The Venetian Masquerade #3 Nathan Sutherland
• Kelly, Erin - Stone Mothers
• Kelly, Lesley Death at the Plague Museum #3 The Health of Strangers series
• Kerr, Philip - Metropolis #14 Private Detective Bernhard Gunther, 1930s Berlin
• Kidd, Jess - Things in Jars
• Kiernan, Olivia - The Killer in Me #2 DCS Frankie Sheehan
• Knight, Alanna - The Dower House Mystery #18 Inspector Faro, Edinburgh, Victorian Era
• Lebor, Adam - Kossuth Square #2 Balthazar Kovacs, Detective, Budapest
• Lloyd, Amy - One More Lie
• Magson, Adrian - Rocco and the Price of Lies #6 Inspector Lucas Rocco, Poissons-Les-Marais, 1960s
• Marland, Stephanie - You Die Next #2 DI Dominic Bell and Clementine Starke
• Martin, Faith - A Fatal Flaw #3 Ryder & Loveday, Oxford, 1960s
• Masters, Priscilla - Blood on the Rocks #14 Detective Inspector Joanna Piercy, Leek, Staffordshire
• McAllister, Gillian - The Evidence Against You
• McPherson, Catriona - Scot and Soda #2 Last Ditch Mysteries
• Mitchell, Caroline - The Secret Child #2 Detective Amy Winter
• Morris, R N - The White Feather Killer #5 Silas Quinn, police detective
• Nesser, Hakan - Intrigo #1 Short Story & Novella Collection
• Parsons, Tony - #taken #6 Detective Max Wolfe of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, London
• Perry, Anne - Death in Focus #1 Elena Standish, Photographer, 1930s
• Robb, Candace - A Conspiracy of Wolves #11 Owen Archer
• Robson, Amanda - Envy
• Sidebottom, Harry - The Lost Ten
• Siger, Jeffrey - The Mykonos Mob #10 Former Athens police chief Andreas Kaldis & local police chief Tassos Stamatos, Mykonos
• Sigurdardottir, Yrsa - The Absolution #3 Children's House series
• Taylor, Andrew - The King's Evil #3 Ashes of London series
• Taylor, C L - Sleep
• Thomas, Bev - A Good Enough Mother
• Thomson, Lesley - The Playground Murders #7 Stella Darnell
• Upson, Nicola - Sorry for the Dead #8 Josephine Tey, real-life crime writer
• Watkins, Roz - Dead Man's Daughter #2 DI Meg Dalton, Derbyshire
• White, D E - Remember Me
• Whitehouse, Lucie - Critical Incidents #1 Ex-DI Robin Osborne, Birmingham
• Young, David - Stasi 77 #4 Oberleutnant Karin Müller