Annal: 2012 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award for Historical Crime Novel

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2012.

Book:Icelight (Aly Monroe)

Icelight

Aly Monroe

1947. Threadbare London endures the bleakest, coldest winter for decades. Food rationing is worse than during the war. Coal supplies run out. The Thames freezes over. Against a background of black ice, blackouts and the black market, agent Peter Cotton is seconded to Operation Sea-snake. MI5 is in the grip of civil war; MI6 is riddled with traitors. Unsure who to trust—or even who is pulling the strings—Cotton, ever the outsider, must protect an atomic scientist caught up in a vicious homophobic witch-hunt, limit the damage caused by a bully-boy MP, rely on a rent-boy informer and, despite the murderous attentions of a couple of Glasgow razor boys, embark on a ruthless hunt of his own.

Book:Bitter Water

Bitter Water: A Douglas Brodie Investigation

Gordon Ferris

This is a declaration to the people of Glasgow. The police are useless and corrupt. We are taking it into our own hands: The Glasgow Marshals For Douglas Brodie, Glasgow’s outbreak of murder and mayhem begins simply enough. A typical Saturday night brawl adds a splash of colour to the morning edition of the Gazette. But Brodie’s piece receives a hot-blooded reply—the declaration of a new war upon petty crime signed by a group of vigilantes: The Glasgow Marshals. After his own stint at the Front, Brodie counts himself lucky to be back in his home town, paying his way as the local crime reporter. And although the frustrated, demobbed men of Glasgow are taking an eye for an eye, Brodie has some sympathy for their cause. So when a man is murdered, suspicion automatically falls on the Marshals, and the police are quick to agree. But for Brodie, this crime is all wrong. The Marshals stand for justice, not murder. Amid the heated clash of populace and police, a calculated killing has been ignored. Enlisting the help of advocate Samantha Campbell, Brodie begins to investigate the death himself, finding that of course the old saying always holds true: still waters do run deep.

Book:The Crown (Nancy Bilyeau)

The Crown: A Novel

Nancy Bilyeau

In this debut historical thriller, an aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father’s life and preserve all she holds dear from Cromwell’s ruthless terror.

When novice nun Joanna Stafford learns her rebel cousin is condemned by King Henry VIII to be burned at the stake, she makes the decision to break the sacred rule of enclosure and run away from her Dominican Order in Dartford to stand at her cousin’s side.

Arrested for interfering with king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, Sir Richard Stafford, is sent to the Tower of London. Joanna’s father is brutally tortured by Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester who leads the Catholic faction bent on saving England’s monasteries from destruction. In order to save her father, Joanna must submit to Gardiner’s will and…[more]

Book:I Will Have Vengeance

I Will Have Vengeance

Maurizio de Giovanni

Naples, March 1931: a bitter wind stalks the city’s streets, and murder lies at its chilled heart.

As one of the world’s greatest tenors, Maestro Vezzi, is found brutally murdered in his dressing room at Naples’ famous San Carlo Theatre, the enigmatic and aloof Commissario Ricciardi is called in to investigate. Arrogant and bad-tempered, Vezzi was hated by many, but with the livelihoods of the opera at stake, who would have committed this callous act?

Ricciardi, along with his loyal colleague, Maione, is determined to discover the truth. But Ricciardi carries his own secret: will it help him solve this murder?

Book:Prague Fatale

Prague Fatale: A Bernie Gunther Thriller

Philip Kerr

September 1941: Bernie Gunther returns from the horrors of the Eastern Front to find his home city of Berlin changed, and changed for the worse. The blackout, rationing, the RAF, the S-Bahn murderer and Czech terrorists are all conspiring to make life very unpleasant. Now back at his old desk on Homicide in Kripo HQ, Alexanderplatz, Bernie starts to investigate the death of a Dutch railway worker, while starting something—of an entirely different nature—with a local good-time girl. But he is obliged to drop everything when his old boss, Reinhard Heydrich of the SD, the new Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, orders him to Prague to spend a weekend at his country house. It’s an invitation Bernie feels he would gladly have been spared, especially when he meets his fellow guests—all of them senior loathsome figures in the SS and SD.

The weekend turns sour almost immediately when a body is found, in a room that was locked from the inside. Now the spotlight falls on Bernie to show off his investigative skills and solve this seemingly impossible mystery. If he fails to do so, he knows what is at stake—not only his reputation, but also that of Reinhard Heydrich, a man who does not like to lose face.

Book:Sacrilege (S.J. Parris)

Sacrilege: An Historical Thriller

S.J. Parris

A gripping historical thriller set in sixteenth-century England and centered on the highly secretive cult of Saint Thomas Becket, the twelfth-century archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

London, summer of 1584: Radical philosopher, ex-monk, and spy Giordano Bruno suspects he is being followed by an old enemy. He is shocked to discover that his pursuer is in fact Sophia Underhill, a young woman with whom he was once in love. When Bruno learns that Sophia has been accused of murdering her husband, a prominent magistrate in Canterbury, he agrees to do anything he can to help clear her name.

In the city that was once England’s greatest center of pilgrimage, Bruno begins to uncover unsuspected secrets that point to the dead man being part of a larger and more dangerous plot in the making. He must turn his detective’s eye on history—on…[more]

Book:A Willing Victim

A Willing Victim

Laura Wilson

London, November, 1956. DI Ted Stratton is tasked with investigating the murder of Jeremy Lloyd, a strange young man with a taste for esoteric religion. Stratton’s enquiries lead him to Suffolk, where the mysterious Mr Roth has founded a Foundation for Spiritual Understanding. Apparently Lloyd had believed himself marked out for great things. But at the Foundation, Stratton meets twelve-year-old Michael who is proclaimed as the next incarnation in a long line of spiritual leaders that stretches back to Christ and Buddha. He is rumoured amongst Roth’s disciples to have been immaculately conceived, but the woman who is said to be his mother, and whose photograph was cherished by Lloyd, has disappeared. When a woman’s body is found in woods nearby, Stratton initially assumes he has found ‘the mother’, but the reality turns out to be far stranger and far more terrifying…

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