Annal: 2006 Dagger Award for Crime Novel

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2006.

Book:Raven Black

Raven Black

Ann Cleeves

It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter’s eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance…

The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man—loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when police insist on opening out the investigation a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine’s neighbours nervously lock their doors, whilst a killer lives on in their midst.

Raven Black is a haunting, beautifully crafted crime story, and establishes Ann Cleeves as a rising talent in psychological crime writing…

Book:The Chemistry of Death

The Chemistry of Death

Simon Beckett

When the bizarrely mutilated and long-dead body of a young woman is found in a ditch in Manham, an isolated and insular village in the Norfolk marshlands, it isn’t just the fact that she had been a friend that disturbs Dr David Hunter. He was once a high-profile forensic anthropologist and all too familiar with the different faces of death, until a devastating personal tragedy made him turn his back on his former life and career.

Now hidden away as a country doctor, Hunter’s past is a secret he hopes will remain buried. So when he’s asked by the police to use his arcane skills to help track down the killer, he’s reluctant to become involved, knowing this will only stir up the painful memories he’s been trying so hard to forget. Then another young woman disappears, and Manham is plunged into a fog of fear and paranoia that threatens to tear it apart. And no one seems exempt from suspicion as the twisted killings continue.…[more]

Book:Red Leaves

Red Leaves: A Novel

Thomas H. Cook

Eric Moore has reason to be happy. He has a prosperous business, a comfortable home, a stable family life in a quiet town. Then, on an ordinary night, his teenage son Keith is asked to babysit Amy Giordano, the eight-year-old daughter of a neighboring family. The next morning Amy is missing.

Suddenly Eric is one of the stricken parents he has seen on television, professing faith in his child’s innocence. As the police investigation increasingly focuses on Keith, Eric must counsel his son, find him a lawyer, protect him from the community’s steadily growing suspicion. Except that Eric is not so sure his son is innocent. And if Keith is not…and might do the same thing again…what then should a father do?

Red Leaves is a story of broken trust and one man’s heroic effort to hold fast the ties that bind him to everything he loves.

Book:Safer Than Houses

Safer Than Houses: A Sarah Fortune Mystery

Frances Fyfield

Sarah Fortune inherited her flat from one of her many lovers. Now a son has appeared claiming it is his, morally if not strictly legally, and he is using illegal means to persuade Sarah to give it up: abusive letters threatening her personal harm. As it becomes more difficult to ignore these missives, Sarah comes across Henry, a timid, lonely man whose upstairs neighbour is using every trick in the racketeer landlord’s book to make him leave his home: litter in the shared hallway, continual noise, poison set out for his cat. It seems that if they swap accommodation for a while they may be able to deal with each other’s problems. But these two strangers have unknown connections in common: a well-meaning widow, a struggling therapist, and a man who sets fire to other people’s property for a living…

Book:A Thousand Lies

A Thousand Lies

Laura Wilson

In 1987 Sheila Shand was given a suspended sentence for murdering her father. At her trial, it emerged that she and her mother and sister had been forced to shield brutal sadist Leslie Shand while he subjected them to a reign of terror, daily beatings and sexual abuse. Years later, investigative journalist Amy Vaughan discovers letters and a newspaper cutting about the Shand case while clearing out her late mother’s flat. Concluding that she must be related to the Shands, she decides to visit Sheila’s mother who is in a care home.

Amy is curious about the elderly Iris Shand who pores over an album of family photos, for Amy knows that photographs tell lies. Her own mother had subjected her to a different form of abuse—Munchausen By Proxy, using snaps of the daughter she’d made sick to try to keep the affections of Amy’s father George, a charismatic con-man. Then George appears on Amy’s doorstep…[more]

Book:Wolves of Memory:

Wolves of Memory:

Bill James

A large, carefully plotted “cash-in-transit” raid goes hopelessly awry when armed policemen intervene to seize the perpetrators. Relatives and friends of the incarcerated are convinced that information—the date, the time—was leaked by the only man to escape before his arrest. Deputy Constable Colin Harpur and Assistant Constable Desmond Iles are delegated the job of hiding and protecting the informant and his family.

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