Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2004.
The Italian-American mafia has its roots in a mysterious and powerful criminal network in Sicily. While the mythology of the mafia has been widely celebrated in American culture, the true origins of its rituals, laws, and methods have never actually been revealed. John Dickie uses startling new research to expose the secrets of the Sicilian mafia, providing a fascinating account that is more violent, frightening, and darkly comic than anything conceived in popular movies and novels. How did the Sicilian mafia begin? How did it achieve its powerful grip in Italy and America? How does it operate today?
From the mafia’s origins in the 1860s to its current tense relationship with the Berlusconi government, Cosa Nostra takes us to the inner sanctum where few have dared to go before. This is an important work of history and a revelation for anyone who ever wondered what it means to be “made” in the mob.
At once a historical thriller and a social history, The Italian Boy meticulously reconstructs the hour-by-hour activities of the body snatchers, investigates the mysterious identity of the anonymous boy, and traces the labyrinthine twists and turns of a case that would engage society from the wealthy to the most hopeless and helpless. In the process, historian Sarah Wise draws a picture of the chaos and squalor of the city that swallowed the fourteen-year-old vagrant: In 1831, London’s poor were displaced and desperate; the wealthy were terrified, the population swelling so fast that old class borders could not possibly hold. All the while, early humanitarians were pushing legislation to protect the disenfranchised, the courts were establishing norms of punishment and execution, and doctors were pioneering the science of human anatomy.
A shocking true story of contemporary slavery: a young girl, snatched from her tribal village in Africa, survives enslavement in Sudan and London before making a courageous escape to freedom.
Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende.
Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her “Yebit,” or “black slave.” She called them “master.” She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own. …[more]
In 1889, Reginald Birchall, a well-bred young Englishman, advertises in the London papers for a partner to buy a share in his Canadian horse farm. Two young men of good family—Douglas Pelly and Frederick Benwell—sign on. But when their troubled journey to Canada stalls inexplicably in Niagara Falls and Benwell mysteriously disappears, Pelly thinks Birchall might be trying to kill him. Then Benwell’s frozen body turns up near Woodstock, Ontario, with two bullets in the back of his head.
So begins The Swamp of Death, British journalist Rebecca Gowers’s investigation into a villainous scam, a murder and the ensuing trial—a fiasco of injustice and bias. Taking its name from a Victorian pulp novel that wildly sensationalized the story, Gowers’s account illuminates how staid and proper values clashed with the public’s insatiable thirst for the grizzly delights and dark drama of a heinous crime. …[more]
In January 1954 twelve jurors sat at the Old Bailey to hear charges of obscenity against seven crime novels written by the immensely popular Hank Janson, whose sexy thrillers had sold five million copies in only six years. Hank’s publisher and distributor were found guilty and imprisoned and an arrest warrant put out for the author.
The Trials of Hank Janson presents a full biography of that author—in reality, a man named Stephen D. Frances—from his early life, through the highs and lows he experienced with the Janson novels, to his eventual decline and death in Spain, cut off from the character he had created.