Friday, June 16, 2017

Ngaio Marsh Award Longlist

The Longlist for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel: The Ngaio Marsh Award represents the very best in Kiwi Crime. 

• Dead Lemons, by Finn Bell (e-book)
• Pancake Money, by Finn Bell (e-book)
• Spare Me the Truth, by C.J. Carver (Bonnie Zaffre)
• Red Herring, by Jonothan Cullinane (HarperCollins)
• The Revelations of Carey Ravine, by Debra Daley (Quercus)
• The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton, by Katherine Hayton (Katherine Hayton)
• Presumed Guilty, by Mark McGinn (Merlot)
• Marshall’s Law, by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)
• A Straits Settlement, by Brian Stoddart (Crime Wave Press)
• The Last Time We Spoke, by Fiona Sussman (Allison & Busby)

Craig Sisterson, organizer of the Ngaio Marsh Award, is a lapsed Lawyer, and major Crime Fiction Fan and Writer who writes for magazines and newspapers in several countries. He also blogs at Crime Watch.

Here's what Craig has to say about this year's long list:

A self-inflicted, self-described cripple dangling off the edge of a cliff above the raging sea near the bottom of New Zealand, clinging precariously to life after getting too noisy with his dangerous neighbours, probably wasn’t the kind of hero Raymond Chandler ever had in mind. 

 “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid,” wrote the cranky king of crime fiction in “The Simple Art of Murder”, an oft-quoted essay for the Atlantic Monthly published a few short weeks after the end of the Second World War. 

Seventy-plus years on, the hero of Otago author Finn Bell’s exciting crime debut Dead Lemons is both tarnished, and afraid. And he’s not the only ‘hero’ among this year’s crop of Ngaio Marsh Award longlistees who breaks the classic crime mould. New Zealand authors are unafraid to put their own spin on crime, blending it with other genres, and taking their tales into varied locales and times. 

A record number of entries gave the judging panel plenty to ponder, with plenty of new blood joining the local #yeahnoir ranks (credit to Steph Soper of the Book Council for the cool hashtag). 

Candidly, it was a tough ask for our judges to narrow down the longlist, with plenty of good local reads that judges liked missing out. While that’s a great situation for the overall health of New Zealand crime writing, it made for some tough calls, differing opinions, and debate. 

With such variety on offer (and the fact I’m only personally batting about .500 in terms of correctly picking the winner over the years), I’m not even going to try to play bookie with the contenders. 

If you’re a fan of crime fiction, or just good writing, I’m sure there’s something here that could tickle your fancy.

The international judging panel of Ayo Onatade (UK), Greg Fleming (New Zealand), Janet Rudolph (United States), Karen Chisholm (Australia), Paddy Richardson (New Zealand), Stephanie Jones (New Zealand), and Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland), are currently considering the long list.

The finalists will be announced in August, along with the finalists for the Best First Novel and Best Non Fiction categories. The finalists will be celebrated and the winners announced at a WORD Christchurch event in October.

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