Posted: May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


Seven books. Two French, two Italian, one Spanish, one Swedish, and one Argentinean. Seven very different books that could be classified as; one dramatic historical mystery [still reading that one], one political thriller, one crime thriller, one horror/black humour eccentric police procedural, and three police procedurals whose authors give the reader varying levels of literary style, and different emphasis into the character of the main investigator.

How do each of these books compare with some of the crime fiction of the past few years?
Do they have the exciting plots, cynicism, dark humour, distrust of superiors, political intrigue, brooding atmosphere, social commentary, unusual protagonists, or authors with that special curiosity factor that have recently helped so much to market books?
Do they have an easy reading level, or has style taken precedence over substance?
Is there too much violence, or not enough action?
Is there a satisfactory ending?
The shortlist this year doesn’t have a book by Johan Theorin, Arnaldur Indridason, Jo Nesbo or even Stieg Larsson, and as a result does not look as strong as in the previous two years.
But which book should win? [to be continued]
  1. kathy d. says:

    >Hi,Good summary.Which one is the horror/black humor book? That I'm leery of reading, although my goal is to read all seven.Few are available over here across the pond, except Wings of the Sphinx, Needle in a Haystack and Three Seconds.I always love Vargas' books, so I'm for hers being nominated.But not having read any of them, I can't say anything yet.

  2. >Kathy, in my review of An Uncertain Place-Fred Vargas I mentioned Bram Stoker and Count Dracula. No more spoilers. ;o)

  3. >Excellent summary Norman. Have still two books to go and so far my favourites were originally written in Spanish and obviously I'm biased.

  4. >Jose Ignacio I think others may come to the same conclusion about those Spanish books. I do have a first cousin whose surname is Garcia, so perhaps I am biased as well. ;o)

  5. >Kathy, please don't be put off by Count Dracula, Fred Vargas is always entertaining with her strange cast of characters.

  6. kathy d. says:

    >Oh, no, if it's the Fred Vargas, nothing to worry about. I've read all of her Adamsberg books that exist over here, and also The Three Evangelists. I rave about her to friends constantly, and pass on her library books to others.I have heard talk of vampires (pseudovampires, though) and other horror figures, but all is scientifically and rationally explained, fine with me.Look, one book featured a wolfman, but all was explained. In another, a tree was moved next to a woman's house, then she was murdered. Coincidence? I think not. It's all good.I'm trying to find this book to buy it so I can loan it out to 10 people and win Vargas fans.

  7. Maxine says:

    >Looking forward to your verdict, Norman, which I am sure will be impeccable.

  8. kathy d. says:

    >Just finished Camilleri's and enjoyed it so much today, that I am tempted to just read this series until I'm finished. So pleasant and witty it was truly relaxing.However, must put my nose to the grindstone and read the entire Dagger shortlist and fulfill various informal challenges.But it surely is tempting to stay in Sicily for awhile.

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