Dannie Abse was longlisted for his fifth and last novel. The author put his own experiences as a doctor into his disturbing tale of a physician struggling with murderous urges.

Abse was best known as one of Wales’s foremost poets and wrote and edited more than 40 volumes during the course of his long career. As a doctor he specialised in chest ailments and the case study in Dr Simmonds involves the darkness in the heart of the eponymous physician. The story is set in the post-war years in the Hampstead-Finchley area of north London where Abse lived after leaving Cardiff. Written when the author was 80, the novel distils a lifetime’s ponderings on whether it can ever be ethical for a doctor to kill.

Dannie Abse

All nominated books