The Ngaio Marsh Awards 2018

Update: And the winner is… announced on 1st September at WORD Christchurch, the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards winners are Jennifer Lane (Best First Novel) and Alan Carter (Best Novel).

This is a post I need to get in quickly before I’m too late and the winners of these awards are announced! The Ngaio Marsh Awards, as you might imagine, celebrate crime, mystery, thriller and suspense writing by New Zealand authors (citizens – wherever they live in world – and residents) and have been doing so since 2010.

There are two awards – Best Crime Novel and Best First Novel with submissions for the 2018 awards being from books published in New Zealand in 2017. In May the longlist for the Best Crime Novel was announced and in July the two shortlists were published.

Best Crime Novel (shortlisted novels in bold)

  • Marlborough Man (Alan Carter, Fremantle Press) winner
  • Baby (Annaleese Jochems, VUP)
  • See You In September (Charity Norman, Allen & Unwin)
  • The Lost Taonga (Edmund Bohan, Lucano)
  • The Easter Make Believers (Finn Bell, self-published)
  • The Only Secret Left To Keep (Katherine Hayton, self-published)
  • Tess (Kirsten Mcdougall, VUP)
  • The Sound of Her Voice (Nathan Blackell, Mary Egan Publishing)
  • A Killer Harvest (Paul Cleave, Upstart Press)
  • The Hidden Room (Stella Duffy, Virago)

Best First Novel

  • The Floating Basin (Carolyn Hawes, self-published)
  • Broken Silence (Helen Vivienne Fletcher, HVF Publishing)
  • All Our Secrets (Jennifer Lane, Rose Mira Books) winner
  • The Sound of Her Voice (Nathan Blackwell, Mary Egan Publishing)
  • Nothing Bad Happens Here (Nikki Crutchley, Oak House Press)

The finalists will be celebrated, and the winners announced as part of a special event at the WORD Christchurch Festival, due to be held from 29 August to 2 September.


Crime fiction and the Man Booker 2018

In my series of posts featuring awards for crime fiction I hadn’t particularly anticipated that I would also be including the Man Booker. In their own words “the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK”, it is perceived as being for ‘literary fiction’ and as such has been criticised for excluding books in more commercial genres.

In recent years there have been signs that this is changing. In 2015 A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James took the prize, and if not crime fiction it certainly shares some similarities with the genre. In 2016 His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet made it on to the shortlist – although historical and despite the author’s apparent argument against it being a crime novel – was as much a crime novel as many others. In the same year Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh was also shortlisted, with a thriller if not crime fiction (there is a fine line there somewhere) which was, according to the author, a deliberate exercise in playing with the format of commercial fiction to get the attention of a big publisher. The longlist for 2017 included Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, which had all the trappings of crime fiction but developed into something more ‘literary’.

So what of 2018? The first noteworthy change is the inclusion of crime writer Val McDermid on the judging panel. And the second is that the longlist includes a book that is definitely and unequivocally a crime novel (and which coincidentally includes a quote from Val McDermid on the cover) and that’s Snap by Belinda Bauer.  Why shouldn’t this be crime fiction’s year?

The full longlist is:

From the UK:

Snap by Belinda Bauer (Bantam Press)

Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber)

In Our Mad And Furious City by Guy Gunaratne (Tinder Press)

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (Hamish Hamilton)

The Long Take Robin Robertson by (Picador)

From the USA

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (Granta Books)

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (Jonathan Cape)

The Overstory by Richard Powers  (William Heinemann)

From Canada

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail)

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape)

From Ireland

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)

From A Low And Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)

The timeline for the award is longlist announced 24 July, shortlist announced 20 September and the announcement of winner takes place in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner on 16 October.

2018 awards – round-up of winners

As I seem to have put together a few posts around awards this year I thought it may be worth have a single post where I consolidate the results for the year. I know I’ll find it useful come December!

The Edgars are the awards of Mystery Writers of America I’ve found that a number of the winners have been books and authors that have been popular on this side to the Atlantic too so although not dedicated to UK crime fiction the winners are worth a look.

Best NovelBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke 

Best First Novel by an American Author – She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper 

Best Paperback OriginalThe Unseeing by Anna Mazzola – review

Best Fact Crime – Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann 

Best Critical / Biographical – Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson 

The Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award – The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman 

Best Short Story – “Spring Break”New Haven Noir by John Crowley 

Best Juvenile – Vanished! By James Ponti 

Best Young AdultLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds 

Robert L Fish Memorial Award – “The Queen of Secrets” – New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray (Akashic Books)

Ellery Queen Award – Robert Pépin

The awards presented during Crimefest:

Audible Sounds of Crime Award  –  The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney read by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams & Lise Aagaard Knudsen

eDunnit Award –  The Late Show by Michael Connelly 

H.R.F. Keating Award Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang by Mike Ripley 

Last Laugh Award –  Spook Street by Mick Herron 

Best Crime Novel for Children (aged 8-12) –  A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan 

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (12-16)Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence 

The Petrona Award –  Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito,translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles 

Then we have the awards announcements from Theakston Old Peculier crime writing festival in Harrogate:

Crime Novel of the Year AwardThe Intrusions  by Stav Sherez (Faber & Faber)

Award for an outstanding contribution to crime fictionJohn Grisham

And also announced over the weekend were the winners of the Dead Good Reader Awards:

The Holmes and Watson Award for Best Detective Duo – Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson, Elly Griffiths

The Whodunnit Award for the Book That Keeps You Guessing – Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh 

The Cabot Cove Award for Best Small Town Mystery – The Chalk Man by C J Tudor 

The Wringer Award for the Character Who’s Been Put Through It AllJack Reacher by Lee Child 

The House of Horrors Award for Most Dysfunctional FamilyThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell 

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended BookThe Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths 

On 1st September the winner of the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards were announced as:

Best First NovelAll Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane

Best Crime Novel Marlborough Man by Alan Carter

On 21St September, the first night of Bloody Scotland, the winner of the Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year was announced as:

The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

On 27th September the winner of Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award for Contemporary Fiction 2018 was announced as:

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The winners of the CWA Daggers were announced on 25th October at a gala dinner:

Gold Dagger (best crime novel)The Liar by Steve Cavanagh

Ian Fleming Steel (best thriller) – Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

John Creasey (New Blood) Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

InternationalAfter the Fire by Henning Mankell tr Marlaine Delargy

Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction – Blood on The Page by Thomas Harding

Short StoryNemo Me Impune Lacessit, by Denise Mina from Bloody Scotland

Debut (unpublished writers) – Winner: The Eternal Life of Ezra Ben Simeon by Bill Crotty Highly Commended: Riverine Blood by Joseph James

Historical – Nucleus by Rory Clements

Dagger in the LibraryMartin Edwards

The HWA Crowns were announced in November with three categories of award.

The Sharpe Books HWA Gold Crown for historical fiction – To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, translated by Shaun Whiteside

The Non-fiction Crown – White King: Charles I – Traitor, Martyr, Murderer by Leanda de Lisle

The HWA Debut Crown – Estoril by Dejan Tiago-Stankovic


Do you choose books because they’ve won awards? Are there any on this list that appeal to you?

The 2018 CWA Daggers – shortlists

Update: The winners were announced last night (25th October) and are in bold.

In addition an extra award was presented – Ali Karim, Mike Stotter, and Ayo Onatade of Shots Ezine and David Stuart Davies, editor of the CWA’s Red Herrings magazine all received a special Red Herring Award for services to the genre.

Following the announcement of the CWA Dagger longlists in May the shortlists have now been confirmed.

The only tips I can offer are for the Steel Dagger – Bluebird, Bluebird, it’s a book that featured on many reviewers’ ‘best of 2017’ lists and scooped ‘Best Novel’ at The Edgars earlier this year. Another book that was a winner at The Edgars was Killers of the Flower Moon which won in ‘Best Fact Crime’. Other than that I’m currently clueless!

The Diamond Dagger – selected from nominations provided by CWA members – 2018 winner is Michael Connelly and the award will be presented at the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner in October.

The shortlists for the following daggers were announced on 25 July with the winners being presented at the CWA dinner in October.

Gold Dagger

The Liar by Steve Cavanagh
London Rules by Mick Herron
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

London Rules by Mick Herron
If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth
The Chalk Man by C J Tudor
The Force by Don Winslow

 John Creasey (New Blood)

Gravesend by William Boyle
I.Q. by Joe Ide
Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka
Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love
East Of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

International Dagger

Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini Tr. Jamie Bulloch
Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre Tr. Frank Wynne
After the Fire by Henning Mankell Tr. Marlaine Delargy
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet Tr. Don Bartlett
Offering to the Storm by Dolores Redondo Tr. Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garzía
The Accordionist by Fred Vargas Tr. Sian Reynolds

Non-Fiction Dagger

Black Dahlia Red Rose by Piu Eatwell
Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann
Blood On The Page by Thomas Harding
The Fact Of A Body  by Alexandria Mariano-Lesnevich
A False Report by T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong
Rex v Edith Thompson by Laura Thompson

CWA Short Story Dagger

The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle by Chris Brookmyre
from Bloody Scotland ( Historic Environment Scotland)

Second Son by Lee Child
from No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories (Bantam Press)

Smoking Kills by Erin Kelly
from “The Body” Killer Women Crime Club Anthology 2 Edited by Susan Opie (Killer Women Ltd)

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit by Denise Mina
from Bloody Scotland (Historic Environment Scotland)

Accounting for Murder by Christine Poulson
from Mystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories Edited by Martin Edwards (Orenda Books)

Debut Dagger (unpublished writers)

Bill Crotty – The Eternal Life of Ezra Ben Simeon
Luke Melia – The Last Googling of Beth Bailly
Joseph James – Riverine Blood – highly commended
Linda McLaughlin – Original Sins
Sherryl Clark – Trust Me, I’m Dead

Historical Dagger

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Fire by L. C. Tyler
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy
Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson
Nucleus by Rory Clements

Dagger in the Library longlist

Martin Edwards
Nicci French
Simon Kernick
Edward Marston
Peter May
Rebecca Tope

So how’s your reading going – have read enough to judge a category for yourself? Any tips for the winners?

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award – winner 2018

At the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival the winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was announced and from the shortlist of 6 books Stav Sherez took the top spot with The Intrusions. This a book I’ve yet to read but I’ve been extremely impressed by Stav’s previous books (my review of Eleven Days here) which deliver beautifully written, thought-provoking, crime fiction.

In the absence of my own review you can read one from Vicky Newham, I like the tip on a potential award winner at the end of this review by Craig Sisterson, and finally one from Rob on The View from the Blue House.


The HWA Crowns 2018

Update: the shortlists have been confirmed and the shortlisted titles are highlighted in bold below.
Update to the update: winners announced on 7th November, winners in red below.

The longlists for the three HWA (Historical Writing Association) Crowns – their annual awards – have been announced. It’s not clear what the shortlisting process or when a shortlist announcement will be but the winners will be announced in November.

What has surprised me is that as I’ve read two of the books which I think it’s more than I’ve read from any of the crime fiction award longlists.

HWA Debut Crown
This award is for the best historical novel by a first-time fiction author first published in the UK in English.

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin – review here

Estoril by Dejan Tiago-Stankovic (winner)

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson

The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades

The Parentations by Kate Mayfield

Deposed by David Barbaree

The Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

Bitter by Francesca Jakobi

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

The judges include Ayo Onatade who did a Q & A for me on the subject of judging awards.

HWA Sharpe Books Gold Crown
This award is for the best historical novel first published in the UK in English.

To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, translated by Shaun Whiteside (winner)

Sugar Money by Jane Harris

The Last Hour by Harry Sidebottom

Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase

The Zoo by Christopher Wilson

Pilgrim’s War by Michael Jecks

The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr

Blood’s Game by Angus Donald

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements – review here 

The Tyrant’s Shadow by Antonia Senior

The Valentine House by Emma Henderson

HWA Non Fiction Crown
This award is for the best non-fiction work published in the UK in English.

Houses of Power: The Places that Shapes the Tudor World by Simon Thurley

White King: Charles I – Traitor, Martyr, Murderer by Leanda de Lisle (winner)

Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister by Nicholas Shakespeare

Napoleon: The Spirit of the Age by Michael Broers

The Fear and the Freedom: How the Second World War Changed Us by Keith Lowe

The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition And Searing Rivalry by Clare Mulley

Lady Fanshawe’s Receipt Book: An Englishwoman’s Life During the Civil War by Lucy Moore

Black Tudors: The Untold Story Hardcover by Miranda Kaufmann

The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England by Graham Robb

Hearts And Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote by Jane Robinson

A History of Rome in Seven Sackings by Matthew Kneale

Pie and Mash Down the Roman Road by Melanie McGrath

Have you read many from these lists? What would be your tip for the winner(s)?

The Dead Good Reader Awards 2018

Update: the winners have been announced and I’ve marked them on the shortlists. Congratulations to all the authors.

In April readers were offered the opportunity to nominate their favourite books and authors from the past year, the most popular forming the shortlists for the Dead Good Reader Awards which then go to a public vote. To qualify, books must have been published in any format within the past year. The winners will be announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate in July.

The shortlists are out and the vote is currently open to the public and closes on 18th July –

While I do have some firm favourites in the more general awards (such as Best Duo or ‘Wringer’ award) I’ve read very few of the specific books that have been shortlisted. More surprisingly for shortlists that have come from reader nominations there are a number of books and authors that I’ve not heard of at all.

The categories and shortlists are:

The Holmes and Watson Award for Best Detective Duo

Arthur Bryant and John May – Christopher Fowler
Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles – Tess Gerritsen
Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson – Elly Griffiths – winner
Marnie Rome and Noah Jake – Sarah Hilary
Rosie Strange and Sam Stone – Syd Moore
Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi – P J Tracy

The Whodunnit Award for the Book That Keeps You Guessing

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh – winner
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Cabot Cove Award for Best Small Town Mystery

A Murder to Die For by Stevyn Colgan
Dark Pines by Will Dean
The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman
Hell in a Handbasket by Denise Grover Swank
The Dry by Jane Harper
The Chalk Man by C J Tudor – winner

The Wringer Award for the Character Who’s Been Put Through It All

Jack Reacher – Lee Child – winner
Frieda Klein – Nicci French
Lottie Parker – Patricia Gibney
Ruth Galloway – Elly Griffiths
Michael Devlin – Tony Kent
David Raker – Tim Weaver

The House of Horrors Award for Most Dysfunctional Family

Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown
Blood Sisters by Jane Corry
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell – winner
Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths – winner
Killer Intent by Tony Kent
Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister
The Fear by C L Taylor
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

So if you have favourites from this list it’s time to get voting. Just one or two categories that I’ll be voting in.