The Sherlock Award for Best Comic Detective? Sure Mairiuna, it is with great pleasure that I will talk more about it, especially that information on this very unique literary award is not easily gathered online. Furthermore, it is rather confusing as they are several categories.
I first heard about it when blogging a few days ago about Christopher Brookmyre‘s novel, Boiling a Frog, for which he won the award in 2000.
What’s different from other literary awards is that it recognises the best in detective fiction, but the award goes to the detective instead of the author !
“The creation rather than the creator”. The author brings back home from the prize winning ceremony, a stylish bust representing the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes.
The idea comes from Mike Ripley, himself crime novelist and reviewer.
Inaugurated in 1999, the ceremony, presented by the Sherlock magazine, was held in the premier crime fiction bookshop, ‘Murder One’ on Charing Cross Lane in London. In 2002, the venue was changed to the ‘Crime Scene’ at the National Film Theater.
From the numerous contenders, listed below are a few literary Sherlock Awards given at the beginning of the millennium:
2004 Christopher Brookmyre (Little, Brown ) - Be My Enemy with detective Jack Parlabane [Best Comic Novel]
It was a junket, a freebie. A ‘team-building’ weekend in the highlands for lawyers, advertising execs, businessmen, even the head of a charity. Oh, and a journalist, specially solicited for his renowned and voluble scepticism – Jack Parlabane. Amid the flying paintballs and flowing Shiraz even the most cynical admit the organisers have pulled some surprises – stalkers in the forest, power cuts in the night, mass mobile phone thefts, disappearing staff, disappearing guests: there’s nothing can bring out people’s hidden strengths or break down inter-personal barriers quite like not having a clue what’s going on and being scared out of your wits. However, when the only vehicular access for thirty miles is cut off it seems that events are being orchestrated not just for pleasure …And that’s before they find the first body. Thereafter, ‘finding out who your colleagues really are’ is not so much an end product as the key to reaching Monday morning alive.
Visit the author’s website at www.brookmyre.co.uk
2004 Val McDermid (HarperCollins ) – The Distant Echo [Best Crime Novel]
Four in the morning, mid-December, and snow is smothering St Andrews. Student Alex Gilbey and his three best friends are staggering home from a party when they stumble upon the body of a young woman. Rosie Duff has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in the ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young students stained with her blood. Twenty-five years later, Fife police mount a cold case review. Among the unsolved murders they’re examining is that of Rosie Duff. But someone else has their own idea of how justice should be done. One of the original quartet dies in a suspicious house fire. Soon after, a second is killed in what looks like a burglary gone sour. But Alex fears the worst. Someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff. He has to find out who it is before he becomes the next victim. And it might just save his life if he can uncover who really killed Rosie all those years ago.
2004 Paul Johnston (Hodder & Stoughton) – The Last Red Death [Best Detective Novel]
2003 Mark Billingham – In The Dark. Series of London-based novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne.
2001 Ian Rankin (Best Detective created by a British Author)
2000 Christopher Brookmyre - Boiling a Frog (Little, Brown) with detective Jack Parlabane.
Jack Parlabane, the investigative journalist who is not averse to breaking the law for the sake of a good story, has finally been caught on the petard of his own self-confidence and is experiencing accommodation courtesy of Her Majesty.
The fledgling Scottish parliament is in catatonic shock after experiencing its first dose of Westminster sleaze. The Catholic Church of Scotland is taking full advantage of the politicians’ discomfort and is riding high in the polls as the voice of morality.
Behind the scenes the truth is obscured by the machinations of the spin doctors and in prison, aware he’s missing out on a great story, Parlabane discovers that contacts and a pretty way with words are no defence against people he has helped to put away.
Part political satire, part cliff-hanging thriller this is high calibre entertainment.
And for the author’s own view on his books visit his website at www.brookmyre.co.uk.
Would you believe me Mairiuna if I told you that I am heading again to my preferred bookshop?