Annal: 2004 Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2004.

Book:The Distant Echo

The Distant Echo: A Novel

Val McDermid

Four in the morning, mid-December, and snow blankets St. Andrews School. Student Alex Gilbery and his three best friends are staggering home from a party when they stumble upon the body of a young woman. Rosie Duff has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in the ancient Pictish cemetery. The only suspects are the four young students stained with her blood.

Twenty-five years later, police mount a cold case review. Among the unsolved murders they’re examining is that of Rosie Duff. But someone else has his own idea of justice. One of the original quartet dies in a suspicious house fire and soon after, a second is killed. Alex fears the worst. Someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff. And it might just save his life if he can uncover who really killed Rosie all those years ago.

Book:The American Boy

The American Boy

Andrew Taylor

Edgar Allan Poe is the American boy, a child standing on the edge of mysteries.

In 1819, two Americans arrive in London, and soon afterwards a bank collapses. A man is found dead and horribly mutilated on a building site. An heiress flirts with her inferiors. A poor schoolmaster struggles to understand what is happening before it destroys him and those he loves.

But the truth, like the youthful Poe himself, has its origins in the new world as well as the old. Buried deep in the novel’s core is a bitter episode of corruption and divided loyalties during the War of 1812, the inconclusive struggle between the newly independent United States and the world’s one global superpower.

The American Boy is a 21st-century novel with a 19th-century voice. It is a a multilayered literary murder story…[more]

Book:Full Dark House

Full Dark House: A Bryant & May Mystery

Christopher Fowler

A present-day bombing rips through London and claims the life of eighty-year-old detective Arthur Bryant. For his partner John May, it means the end of a partnership that lasted over half-a-century and an eerie echo back to the Blitz of World War II when they first met. Desperately searching for clues to the killer’s identity, May finds his old friend’s notes of their very first case and becomes convinced that the past has returned…with a killing vengeance.

It begins when a dancer in a risque new production of Orpheus in Hell is found without her feet. Suddenly, the young detectives are plunged in a bizarre gothic mystery that will push them to their limits—and beyond. For in a city shaken by war, a faceless killer is stalking London’s theaters, creating his own kind of sinister drama. And it will take Arthur Bryant’s unorthodox techniques and John May’s dogged police work to catch a criminal whose ability to escape detection seems almost supernatural—a…[more]

Book:The House Sitter

The House Sitter

Peter Lovesey

When a woman is found strangled to death on a popular beach in Sussex, the police have a hard time identifying her. It takes twelve days to discover she was a top psychological profiler for the National Crime Faculty. Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is called in because the victim lived in Bath. He must coordinate his efforts with those of Henrietta Mallin, the original senior investigating officer, as well as try to cooperate with the cocky young officer charged with investigating the bizarre murder that the victim had been working on.

Oddly, the National Crime Faculty tries to thwart his efforts.

Book:Lazybones

Lazybones: A Detective Thorne Mystery

Mark Billingham

Thorne knew when he was looking at something out of the ordinary. This was a significant murder scene. This was the work of a killer driven by something special, something spectacular…He looked at the dead man on the bed—the position of him, as if he were praying…Thorne guessed that at the end, he probably had been.

The body is found in the grubbiest of North London hotel rooms. Kneeling, naked on a bare mattress, the head is hooded and the hands tied tight with a brown leather belt. And then there’s the oddest detail of all: the call from the florist to check arrangements about the wreath…It’s been only ten days since convicted rapist Douglas Remfry was released from prison. Someone knew he was coming out. Someone wanted to hand out some punishment of his own. When a second sex offender is discovered dead, the police believe they have a vicious, calculating vigilante on their hands. But how does the killer lure his victims to their deaths?…[more]

Book:The Murder Exchange

The Murder Exchange

Simon Kernick

When ex-mercenary Max Iversson is introduced to nightclub owner Roy Fowler, he senses immediately that the man’s trouble. Fowler wants security for a meeting with a group of businessmen who are looking to buy his club. Five grand for a couple of hours’ work is too tempting a proposition to turn down, so Iversson, who now runs his own firm of freelance bodyguards, takes the job.

But when he and two colleagues accompany Fowler to a deserted north London industrial estate to exchange the deeds for the money, it turns out to be not so much a double-cross as a bloodbath. Three men end up dead, and Iversson only just gets out alive. Now he wants to know who’s behind the killings.

So begins a hunt for answers that will take him into dangerous territory, and also into direct conflict with Detective…[more]

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