Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Decade in Review: Gold Dagger Award winners (2000-2009)

As I noted a couple of days ago, as we get to the end of the year, we're starting to see more and more 'best of the year' lists and reflections - which can always provide some ammunition for debate and discussion. Given that it's 2009, we're also seeing a fair few 'reviewing the whole decade' type lists. Inspired by that, I thought I'd take a look (in something of a short series) at some of the crime fiction themes, highlights, or otherwise noteworthy happenings of the decade. And I'd be really interested to get your perspective in the comments section as well, on each topic.

For the second in this short series, I'm taking a look at one of the other most prestigious crime writing awards, the Gold Dagger, awarded by the UK-based Crime Writers Association (CWA). This award has gone through a few different names (eg Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger) over the course of the past ten years, as sponsorships etc have changed. The list of winners this decade is:

Once again, I haven't read any of these ten books (some crime fiction reviewer I am - though to be fair I've only been reviewing the past year or so - before then I mainly read a lot of books from a shorter list of authors), but have read other books by some of the authors.
Unlike the Edgar list, there were no double-winners during the decade. However some authors received multiple shortlistings (e.g. Mark Billingham twice, for SCAREDY CAT in 2002 and IN THE DARK in 2009, and James Lee Burke FOUR times - for PURPLE CANE ROAD in 2000, JOLIE BLON'S BOUNCE in 2002, PEGASUS DESCENDING in 2007, and THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN in 2008).

Have you read any of these titles? Which is your favourite? Which do you think is the best out of all ten Gold Dagger Award winners this decade? Which award do you think is more prestigious - the Edgar or the Gold Dagger (ie which is the Golden Globe, which is the Oscar)? - or does it not really matter? Thoughts and comments welcome


  1. I have read five of these and my excuse is that I retired in 2003 so had plenty of time on my hands. Three of the five were excellent the Indridason, Temple and Mankell, but I did not think the Somoza or Paretsky were worthy winners. Mankell's and Indiridason's success lead to the splitting of the awards into Gold and International daggers.
    Best of the decade probably The Broken Shore by Peter Temple.

  2. And again I've read two - the Paretsky (not what I'd have picked for a winner) and the Temple (which is absolutely brilliant). I haven't even heard of this year's winner so I'm not much of a crime fiction fan I guess. Oh well - only so much time for reading.

    I don't really have that much interest in awards for prompting what I read (I have ranted before about how the people who award the Booker Prize have turned me off the whole awards concept). It's just an opinion after all (and a collective opinion at that which is always worrisome).

    But it is interesting to look back on these lists and see the changing styles of what's 'in' over time.

  3. Bastian from Jakarta , IndonesiaDecember 20, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    Hi Craig,
    i'm a crime fiction maniac from Jakarta, and i'm new here. Not only i have read all the Dagger winner, but i also have read each and every nomination of Dagger and International Dagger for this decade.

    Here is my favorite from best to worst :
    1. Arnaldur Indridason - Silence of the Grave
    2. William Brodrick - A Whispered Name
    3. Jonathan Lethem - Motherless Brooklyn
    4. Frances Fyfield - Blood From Stone
    5. Ann Cleeves - Raven Black
    6. Jose Carlos Somoza - The Athenian Murder
    7. Sara Paretsky - Blacklist
    8. Peter Temple - The Broken Shore
    9. Henning Mankell - Sidetracked
    10. Minette Walters - Fox Evil

    I really hope we can exchange information and share our love on crime books in the future. Cheers, Bastian

  4. Bastian from Jakarta , IndonesiaDecember 20, 2009 at 7:03 PM

    oh yes, other than all the winner, i would love to recommend some of the shorlited author : Craig Russell series, Giles Blunt series, Morag Joss, Barbara Nadel and Laura Wilson. I enjoy them very much i hope you and all this blog visitor read them. Cheers, Bastian

  5. Thanks for the comments Bastian - and welcome to the Crime Watch readership. I look forward to discussing more crime fiction stuff with you in the new year!