Annal: 2011 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award for Historical Crime Novel

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2011.

Book:The Somme Stations

The Somme Stations: Jim Stringer, Steam Detective

Andrew Martin

On the first day of the Somme enlisted railwayman Jim Stringer lies trapped in a shell hole, smoking cigarette after cigarette under the bullets and the blazing sun. He calculates his chances of survival—even before they departed for France, a member of Jim’s unit had been found dead. During the stand-off that follows, Jim and his comrades must operate by night the vitally important trains carrying munitions to the Front, through a ghostly landscape of shattered trees where high explosive and shrapnel shells rain down. Close co-operation and trust are vital. Yet proof piles up of an enemy within, and as a ferocious military policeman pursues his investigation into the original killing, the finger of accusation begins to point towards Jim himself…

Book:The Cleansing Flames

The Cleansing Flames: A St. Petersburg Mystery

R.N. Morris

It’s Easter, 1872. Fires burn in St Petersburg, a prelude to the revolutionary turmoil that will shake Russia a generation later. As the springtime thaw begins, a body rises to the surface of the Winter Canal. Following an anonymous tip-off, magistrate Porfiry Petrovich is drawn into an investigation of the radical intellectuals who seek to fan the flames of revolution.

In the meantime, junior magistrate Pavel Pavlovich Virginsky plays a dangerous game of his own. Following a chance meeting with a man he suspects of being an arsonist, he volunteers to infiltrate a terrorist cell. But the young man’s loyalties appear divided, his motives conflicted. Will he track down the killers, or to use his position as a magistrate to further a cause with which he sympathises? The issue comes to a head in a shocking and violent confrontation between two generations.

The Cleansing Flames is the fourth book in R.N. Morris’ acclaimed series featuring the investigator from “Crime and Punishment”.

Book:The Hanging Shed

The Hanging Shed

Gordon Ferris

Glasgow, 1946: The last time Douglas Brodie came home it was 1942 and he was a dashing young warrior in a kilt. Now, the war is over but victory’s wine has soured and Brodie’s back in Scotland to try and save childhood friend Hugh Donovan from the gallows. Everyone thought Donovan was dead, shot down in the war. Perhaps it would have been kinder if he had been killed. The man who returned was unrecognizable: mutilated, horribly burned. Donovan keeps his own company, only venturing out for heroin to deaden the pain of his wounds. When a local boy is found raped and murdered, there is only one suspect…

Donovan claims he’s innocent but a mountain of evidence says otherwise. Despite the hideousness of the crime, ex-policeman Brodie feels compelled to try and help his one-time friend. Working with Donovan’s advocate Samantha Campbell, Brodie trawls both the mean streets of the Gorbals and the green hills of western Scotland in their search for the truth. What they find is…[more]

Book:Island of Bones (Imogen Robertson)

Island of Bones

Imogen Robertson

Cumbria, 1783. A broken heritage; a secret history…The tomb of the first Earl of Greta should have lain undisturbed on its island of bones for three hundred years. When idle curiosity opens the stone lid, however, inside is one body too many.

Gabriel Crowther’s family bought the Gretas’ land long ago, and has suffered its own bloody history. His brother was hanged for murdering their father, the Baron of Keswick, and Crowther has chosen comfortable seclusion and anonymity over estate and title for thirty years. But the call of the mystery brings him home at last. Travelling with forthright Mrs Harriet Westerman, who is escaping her own tragedy, Crowther finds a little town caught between new horrors and old, where ancient ways challenge modern justice. And against the wild and beautiful backdrop of fells and water, Crowther discovers that his past will not stay buried.

Book:Prince: A John Shakespeare Novel

Prince: A John Shakespeare Novel

Rory Clements

Spring 1593. England is a powder keg of rumour and fear. Plague rages, famine is rife, the ageing Queen’s couriers scheme: Elizabeth’s Golden Age is truly tarnished. Meanwhile Spain watches and waits—and plots.

Into this turmoil a small cart clatters through the streets of London, carrying a deadly load. It is the first in a wave of horrific bombing attacks on the Dutch immigrant community that will change John Shakespeare’s life for ever.

Driven on by cold rage, Shakespeare’s investigations will take him from magnificent royal horseraces to the opulent chambers of Black Luce’s brothel, from the theatrical underworld of Marlowe and Kyd to the pain-wracked torture cells of priest-hunter Richard Topcliffe, and from the elegant offices of master tactician Robert Cecil to the splintering timbers of an explosive encounter at sea.

As Shakespeare delves ever deeper, he uncovers intricate layers of mystery and deception that threaten the heart not only of the realm, but of all that he holds dear.

Book:The Red Coffin

The Red Coffin

Sam Eastland

It is 1939. The world stands on the brink of Armageddon. In the Soviet Union, years of revolution, fear and persecution have left the country unprepared to face the onslaught of Nazi Germany. For the coming battles, Stalin has placed his hopes on a 30-ton steel monster, known to its inventors as the T-34 tank, and, the ‘Red Coffin’ to those men who will soon be using it. But the design is not yet complete. And when Colonel Nagorski, the weapon’s secretive and eccentric architect, is found murdered, Stalin sends for Pekkala, his most trusted investigator. Stalin is convinced that a sinister group calling itself the White Guild, made up of former soldiers of the Tsar, intend to bring about a German invasion before the Red Coffin is ready. While Soviet engineers struggle to complete the design of the tank, Pekkala must track down the White Guild and expose their plans to propel Germany and Russia into conflict.

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