Annal: 2003 Dagger Award for Crime Novel

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2003.

Book:Fox Evil

Fox Evil

Minette Walters

Minette Walters’s ninth novel, Fox Evil, set in the seemingly bucolic English countryside, establishes a blistering new standard for contemporary suspense.

When elderly Ailsa Lockyer-Fox is found dead in her garden, dressed only in nightclothes and with bloodstains on the ground near her body, the finger of suspicion points at her wealthy husband, Colonel James Lockyer-Fox. A coroner’s investigation deems it death by natural causes, but the gossip surrounding James refuses to go away.

Friendless and alone, James and his reclusive behavior begins to alarm his attorney, whose concern deepens when he discovers that his client has become the victim of a relentless campaign accusing him of far worse than the death of his wife. James is unwilling to fight the allegations, choosing instead to devote his energies to a desperate search for the illegitimate granddaughter who may prove his savior as he battles for his name-and his life.

Book:Half Broken Things

Half Broken Things

Morag Joss

Loners Jean, Micheal and Steph are drawn together to Walden Manor by a mixture of deceit, good luck and misfortune. There, they shape new lives, full of hope and happiness. When their idyll is threatened they discover their new lives are worth preserving. But at what cost?

Book:Almost Blue

Almost Blue

Carlo Lucarelli, Oonagh Stransky

A psychopathic killer of university students is on the loose in Bologna. Rookie detective Grazia Negro is put in charge of this critical investigation, with only her gut instincts to guide her. She gets an unexpected breakthrough when she meets a young blind man who spends his days at home alone, listening to jazz and to the sounds of the city on his scanner.

From the diverse perspectives of the detective, the blind man, and the assassin, Lucarelli, master of Italian noir, weaves a gripping thriller.

Book:The Blind Man of Seville

The Blind Man of Seville

Robert Wilson

It’s Semana Santa in Seville, the Easter week of passion and processions. A leading restaurateur is found bound, gagged, and grotesquely murdered in front of his TV. Self-inflicted wounds tell of the man’s struggle to avoid the unendurable images he’s been forced to watch. At this horrific scene the normally dispassionate homicide detective Javier Falcon is inexplicably afraid. What could be so terrible?

The investigation into the victim’s turbulent life sends Falcon trawling through his own past and the ferociously candid journals of his late father, a world-famous artist. Painful revelations churn up Falcon’s unreliable memory and more killings push him to the edge of terrifying truth. And Falcon realizes that this is not just a hunt for the all-seeing killer who knows his victims’ secret lives but also the search for his own missing heart.

Book:The Company

The Company: A Novel of the CIA

Robert Littell

With a sharp eye for the pathos and absurdity of the Cold War, Robert Littell crafted his first novel, the now legendary spy thriller The Defection of A.J. Lewinter. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times called it “a perfect little gem, the best Cold War thriller I’ve read in years,” and the praise kept coming with critics hailing Littell as “the American Le Carré” (New York Times) and raving that his books were “as good as thriller writing gets” (The Washington Post).

For his fourteenth novel, Robert Littell creates an engrossing, multigenerational, wickedly nostalgic yet utterly candid saga, bringing to life through a host of characters-historical and imagined-the over 40 years of the CIA-”the Company” to insiders. At the heart of the novel is a stunningly conceived mole hunt involving such rivals and allies as the MI6, KGB, and Mossad. …[more]

Book:The Winter Queen

The Winter Queen: An Erast Fandorin Mystery

Boris Akunin, Andrew Bromfield

Moscow, May 1876: What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in the Alexander Gardens? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to send the newest member of the division, Erast Fandorin, a young man of irresistible charm, to the Alexander Gardens precinct for more information.

Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this is an open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the precinct has done—and for good reason: The bizarre and tragic suicide is soon connected to a clear case of murder, witnessed firsthand by Fandorin. There are many unresolved questions. Why, for instance, have both victims left their fortunes to an orphanage run by the English Lady Astair? And who is the beautiful “A.B.,” whose signed photograph is found in the apparent suicide’s…[more]

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