Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Capital Crime launches 2022 Festival Programme and announces new venue


Capital Crime launched their 2022 programme with a bang last night at leading independent bookshop, Goldsboro Books, at a party to announce their stellar line up and spectacular new location. 

Taking place in the shadow of the iconic Battersea Power Station from 29th September – 1st October 2022, Capital Crime will bring together readers, authors, industry figures and the local community for the first major literary festival held on the site for a weekend of fun, innovation and celebration of crime fiction. 

Consisting of over 40 events and over 150 panelists, the line-up will include appearances from Peter James, Kate Mosse, Mark Billingham, Richard Osman, Robert Harris, SA Cosby, Dorothy Koomson, Jeffrey Archer, Anthony Horowitz, Charlie Higson, Jeffery Deaver, Lucy Foley, Bella Mackie, Ragnar Jónasson, Paula Hawkins, Reverend Richard Coles, Mark Edwards, Claire McGowan, Ben Aaronovitch and Former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lady Hale, in conversation with Harriet Tyce. 

Their full schedule of innovative panel talks will be announced later in the summer. 

As part of the live festival this year, Capital Crime’s Social Outreach Initiative will be returning for a third year with the aim to create an inclusive, safe space where state school students with an interest in books can engage with authors, agents, editors and publishers to help demystify the publishing industry. 

The festival will also be launching the coveted Fingerprint Awards, which celebrate the best in genre, as chosen by readers. In 2022 the Fingerprints will present eight awards as well as a prestigious lifetime achievement award. 

Co-founded by David Headley, the owner of one of London’s destination bookshops, which attracts visitors from all over the world, Capital Crime 2022 will serve as a major London attraction, following the regeneration of the local Battersea area and improved transport links. 

Festival Founder, David Headley, said: “I am so delighted that Goldsboro Books and Capital Crime, along with our valued festival sponsors, will be working in partnership this year to bring a bigger and better live celebration of crime fiction back to London. We were so proud of what we achieved at our inaugural festival, and look forward to welcoming authors and readers to our new, exciting venue.” 

Festival Director, Lizzie Curle, said: “After what’s been an emotional few years, we are so grateful to our readers, authors and sponsors for their support, and are thrilled to be reuniting household name authors, new voices in fiction and their fans at our new home in Battersea Park. Though this Capital Crime event may look a little different from the outside; diversity, inclusivity and accessibility remain at the heart of our festival. We can’t wait to celebrate the best genre in the world, and hope everyone will agree it’s been worth the wait.” 

With diversity, accessibility, inclusivity and readers at the heart of the festival, Capital Crime this year will take place in a series of large stretch-tented venues for multiple panel events, signing area, a stunning bar area central to the festival, a pop up Goldsboro Books bookshop in the iconic Pump House Gallery, and an array of London’s tastiest street food traders. 

Weekend and Day Passes are available from the Capital Crime website:

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Partners in Crime by Nicola Upson

There was something a while back on Twitter that got me thinking - one of those polls where you put contrasting crime writers together to see what a collaboration of their work might look like. Although it wasn’t listed as one of the options, the combination that instantly sprang to mind was Josephine Tey and Margery Allingham - now that’s a book I would love to read. 

Tey and Allingham admired each other’s work and were roughly contemporary, with their first detective novels appearing a year apart: Allingham’s The White Cottage Mystery in 1928 and Tey’s The Man in the Queue (published under her Gordon Daviot pseudonym) in 1929. As far as I’m aware, the two never met in real life, although Tey spent a lot of time in Essex, where Allingham lived. But that’s the beauty of fiction - things that you wish for can happen, and although they don’t go as far as collaborating on a novel in Dear Little Corpses, a chance meeting starts a lasting friendship, and they attempt to solve a crime that touches them both. I really can’t remember a time when I’ve had such fun in bringing two characters together.

They are, of course, very different writers, with contrasting styles - although both write beautifully. Their heroes - Albert Campion and Alan Grant - are much loved but very different men; and whereas Tey often referred in letters to periods of unashamed idleness, Allingham came from a ‘fiction factory’ of professional writers and had published more than eight million words by the time she was thirty-five. But the things they have in common are even more obvious: a deep love of the English countryside, expressed so tellingly in their books; an excitement for London and a passion for theatre (they could easily have met over a gin and tonic in the foyer of the Old Vic); and a fascination with crimes from real life, which filter into novels like The Franchise Affair, The Daughter of Time and The China Governess

Most importantly, though, Tey and Allingham share a wit and humanity which is very present in their work: part of the reason we love their books, I think, is because we love them. In each case, the voice that springs so vividly from these pages is wonderful company, and their books reward continued rereading in a way that very few crime novels do. I’m often asked how this series started, and the simplest answer is probably this: I wanted to get to know Tey better, to spend time with her beyond that small but perfectly formed collection of eight crime novels - nine if you count Kif.

And that’s another thing that she and Allingham have in common - they each addressed a world war through a book that was out of character with the rest of their work. Kif (also published in 1929 as Daviot) is Tey’s unflinching account of a boy’s struggle to find his place in society when he returns from fighting in the trenches. The Oaken Heart - Allingham’s only work of non-fiction, published in 1941 - is the story of an English village during the early days of the second world war. The village in question is Tolleshunt D’Arcy in Essex (more famous now for the Bamber murders at White House Farm, which lies on its outskirts) and the book has a cast of characters every bit as rich as Allingham’s novels. As much as I love her fiction, The Oaken Heart is my favourite of her books, and its candour and insight were a huge influence on Dear Little Corpses. She gave me my title, too, which is taken from one of her letters, quoted in Julia Jones’s wonderful biography, The Adventures of Margery Allingham.

At the time this book is set, Tey and Allingham still had their finest work ahead of them. I have no doubt that they’ll team up again further down the series, and I’m looking forward to it already.

Dear Little Corpses by Nicola Upson is published by Faber. (Out Now)

It takes a village to bury a child.1 September, 1939. As the mass evacuation takes place across Britain, thousands of children leave London for the countryside, but when a little girl vanishes without trace, the reality of separation becomes more desperate and more deadly for those who love her. In the chaos and uncertainty of war, Josephine struggles with the prospect of change. As a cloud of suspicion falls across the small Suffolk village she has come to love, the conflict becomes personal, and events take a dark and sinister turn.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Joffe Books Prize 2022


Oyinkan Braithwaite and Ella Diamond Kahn to judge Joffe Books Prize 2022 

Joffe Books is proud to announce that the second year of the Joffe Books Prize will launch 1 May 2022. The Joffe Books Prize is a direct response to the paucity of diverse voices being published in crime fiction. Its aim is to find writers from communities that are underrepresented in the genre and support them in building sustainable careers, while simultaneously discovering brilliant new talent to join our bestselling list.

The winner will receive £1,000, a two-book publishing deal with one of the UK’s leading independent publishers and an editorial consultation with one of the judges. This year, the judging panel will include Oyinkan Braithwaite, critically acclaimed, award-winning author of the bestselling My Sister, the Serial Killer, and Ella Diamond Kahn, co-founder and partner of the Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency.

Enthusiastically received by trade and prospective writers alike, the inaugural 2021 prize far exceeded expectations.

Northumberland-based Christie J. Newport was announced the winner in the Bookseller in December 2021. She was awarded a two-book publishing deal with Joffe Books and her debut is set to launch in autumn 2022.

From the shortlist, three authors have gone on to receive agency representation and a fourth will also be published by Joffe Books in 2022.

Notably, the prize saw a dramatic upswing in the number of submissions by crime writers and agents representing those from underrepresented backgrounds, and we were delighted to welcome to the list CWA John Creasey (New Blood) longlister Meeti Shroff-Shah, Paula Lennon and Adam Lyndon.

Joffe Books invites all unagented authors/entrants from Black, Asian, Indigenous and minority ethnic backgrounds writing in one of our favourite crime fiction genres to submit for the chance to win a two-book publishing deal, a £1,000 cash prize and the opportunity to turn their fantastic manuscripts into bestsellers.

Oyinkan Braithwaite, bestselling author of My Sister, the Serial Killer, says: “It is great that Joffe Prize is dedicating resources to fulfil its commitment to diversify crime fiction. I am thrilled to be a part of the movement to help authors from minority groups achieve their dreams.

Ella Diamond Kahn, co-founder of the Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency, says: “It’s really important to highlight and celebrate diverse voices in all genres of books in order to truly create a more inclusive publishing industry. The Joffe Books Prize, in its second year, is already proving to be a fantastic way of doing exactly that, by discovering thrilling new crime writers. I’m so thrilled to have been invited to be one of the judges, and cannot wait to dive in.”

Emma Grundy Haigh, Editorial Director at Joffe Books, says: “I was overwhelmed by the outcomes of the first prize cycle — it’s been truly wonderful to see how the careers of the shortlistees are already starting to take shape. I’m elated that the Joffe Books Prize is entering its second year. The prize represents a small but vital step towards welcoming a far greater diversity of talent into crime fiction, amplifying underrepresented voices and continuing our commitment to widen access into publishing.

“This year, I am delighted to be joined by the utterly brilliant Oyinkan Braithwaite and Ella Diamon Kahn for the second cycle of the Joffe Books Prize. Oyinkan hardly needs introducing: her breakout novel My Sister, the Serial Killer not only took the crime fiction world by storm, it shook the genre to its core. Ella is a brilliant advocate both for making publishing more accessible and for creating commercial fiction at its finest. I cannot wait to see where the prize takes us this year.”


The prize seeks to discover a new crime fiction writer to join our bestselling list and aims to champion authors from Black, Asian, Indigenous and minority ethnic backgrounds writing in one of our favourite crime fiction genres: electrifying psychological thrillers, cosy mysteries, gritty police procedurals, twisty chillers, unputdownable suspense mysteries, shocking domestic noirs . . .

The winner will receive £1,000 and be offered a two-book publishing deal with Joffe Books, as well as an editorial consultation with one of the judges and a two-year membership to the Society of Authors. Shortlisted authors will receive editorial feedback.


Entrants are invited to submit their full-length manuscript, written in English, a short synopsis of their work and their biography to

The opening date for entries is 1 May 2022. The competition period will close 30 September 2022, 23.59 p.m. BST. No entries received outside this period will be accepted.

Full entry details can be found at


Submissions will be judged by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Ella Diamond Kahn and Emma Grundy Haigh, as well as other members of the Joffe Books team. The winner of the competition will be selected by these judges based on their work’s quality and commercial potential.


Joffe Books is one of the UK’s leading independent publishers of excellent commercial fiction, especially crime and mystery fiction. We passionately love books and are renowned for working closely with authors from across the world to create fantastic books and turning them into bestsellers. Since 2014, we have published more than 700 books by over 80 authors, sold over 20 million books and been shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year three times at the British Book Awards and for the Alison Morrison Diversity Award at the 2022 Independent Publishing Awards. Our roster of award-winning authors and New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestsellers includes Joy Ellis, Faith Martin, Robert Goddard, Simon Brett, Patricia MacDonald and Stella Cameron.

While Joffe Books maintains open submissions for all authors, this competition is designed to offer an exclusive opportunity to Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers, who are particularly underrepresented in crime fiction publishing.


Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at a Nigerian publishing house and has been freelancing as a writer and graphic designer since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self-published work. She is the author of My Sister, the Serial Killer, which received international critical and popular acclaim, winning the 2019 LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller, and being shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, and the British Book Awards 2020 in two categories. It was also longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, and the 2020 Dublin Literary Award. My Sister, the Serial Killer is being translated into 30 languages and has also been optioned for film.


The co-founder of the Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency, Ella Diamond Kahn worked at Andrew Nurnberg Associates as an assistant literary agent for three years. She has long sought to build bridges for those wishing to get into publishing, serving as chair of the Society of Young Publishers in 2012 and chair of the Young Stationers’ Committee in 2018. She has regularly worked with London’s Writer Development Agency Spread the Word, and has also been involved with the WriteNow programme. She was included in the Bookseller’s list of Rising Stars in 2013, and was a winner of the London Book Fair Trailblazer Award 2016. Ella is a keen advocate of upmarket commercial fiction. She is passionate about finding and championing new voices, including those traditionally underrepresented in publishing.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

In The Lyme Crime Spotlight

Curtis Brown Collective

Name: Charlotte Bishop

Job: Author


Twitter: @PhilbyWrites 


Charlotte Philby is a former editor, reporter and columnist. Her grandfather was Kim Philby. Her debut novel Part of the Family was Waterstone's Thriller of the month in May 2020 Her second novel A Double Life was not only one of the New York Post's best book for the summer 2021 but also the Time's book 2020 and The Observer's thriller of the month. The Second Woman, her third book was a Mail on Sunday best new fiction book as well as being a Time's thriller of the month pick. Her most recent book is Edith and Kim

Current book? 

An Olive Grove in Ends by Moses McKenzie. It is a powerful, original and beautifully written fictional account of one young man's life growing up in Stapleton Road, in Bristol - it's a debut novel about masculinity, love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal, and it's so impressive I cannot believe the writer is only twenty-three years old.

Favourite book

Too many to choose from but Alex Garland's The Beach is seminal for me because of where I was at in my life when I read it.

Which two characters would you invite to dinner and why?

Edith Tudor-Hart and Kim Philby - the two characters from my novel Edith and Kim, which reimagines the lives of my grandfather (Kim), and the woman who recruited him to the Soviet cause (Edith) - so that I could grill them on all the questions I was trying to answer when writing the book.

How do you relax?

Going for walks with my kids and the dog we share with my mum (although the dog runs off and refuses to come back and the kids generally spend the whole time shouting in glee or protest, so it's rarely very relaxing), More likely, watching television and drinking red wine. My favourite comfort watches include Inspector Morse and Bosch, or if the children are still awake, Brooklyn 99, which is the only thing we all agree on as a family.

What book do you wish you had written and why?

Victoria Selman's forthcoming Truly, Darkly, Deeply because it's a fresh and genius take on the traditional serial killer story. Or The Girls by Emma Cline because I was obsessed with the Mansons as a teenager and love how she managed to bring a well-trodden crime story to life in a new and brilliant way.

What would you say to your younger self if you were just starting out as an author?

Don't rush, you don't have to do everything at once. And never read your reviews.

Why do you prefer to write standalone books as opposed to a series and would you consider writing a series.

I am easily bored so I worry I would tire of writing the same character again and again. But then I do tend to be fascinated by recurring themes - women leading duplicitous lives, familial betrayal, love - and subverting traditionally male stories by placing women at the centre of the narrative. My first three novels are all stand-alone but very much connected, and best read in chronological order!

What are you looking forward to at Lyme Crime?

Seeing some of the best writers in the business descend on my adopted home-city. Watch out now...

Edith and Kim by Charlotte Philby (HarperCollins) Out Now

To betray, you must first belong...In June 1934, Kim Philby met his Soviet handler, the spy Arnold Deutsch. The woman who introduced them was called Edith Tudor-Hart. She changed the course of 20th century history. Then she was written out of it. Drawing on the Secret Intelligence Files on Edith Tudor-Hart, along with the private archive letters of Kim Philby, this finely worked, evocative and beautifully tense novel - by the granddaughter of Kim Philby - tells the story of the woman behind the Third Man.

You can also find Charlotte Philby on Instagram @Charlottte_Philby

Tickets can be bought here :-

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Winners of 2022 CRIMEFEST Awards Announced


CRIMEFEST, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, has announced the winners of its annual awards.

Now in its 15th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2021 in the UK.

The genre is the most popular in the UK. Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey data shows crime fiction sales in the UK across all formats stood at 54m in 2021; a 7% rise on pre-pandemic levels.

The winner of the anticipated Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award, and £1,000 prize monies, is David Heska Wanbli Weiden for Winter Counts published by Simon & Schuster.

Named by the New York Time as one of “the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now,”Winter Counts was called a “once-in-a-generation thriller” by the Los Angeles Times. Weiden is the first Native American author to win an Anthony Award and the Thriller Award. Set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Winter Counts is an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations, and a meditation on Native identity.

A further £1,000 prize is awarded to Richard Osman and actor Lesley Manville, reader of Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice. It’s the second year the pair has scooped the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible and voted by Audible UK listeners, after winning in 2021 for his phenomenal debut smash-hit, The Thursday Murder Club.

All category winners will receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

The eDunnit Award for the best e-book goes to Abigail Dean for Girl A. Born in Manchester, and a former bookseller for Waterstones, Dean now works as a lawyer for Google. Her astonishing debut novel about siblings who flee abusive parents received widespread acclaim as a story of redemption, horror and love. It was a Sunday Times and New York Times global best seller.

Winner of the H.R.F Keating Award for best biographical or critical book on crime fiction is Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks, edited by Anna von Planta, which was published for the centenary of Highsmith’s birth in 2021. It was praised by the New York Times as offering “the most complete picture ever published” of the canonical author.

The Last Laugh Award goes to Mick Herron’s Slough House. The Jackson Lamb series of dysfunctional British intelligence agents has recently been adapted by Apple TV starring Oscar-winner Gary Oldman.

Best Crime Novel for Children, aged 8-12, goes to M.G. Leonard’s birdwatching detective, Twitch. The internationally bestselling author tells a mystery adventure about friendship, bravery and birds, and Twitch is a celebration of the natural world.

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, aged 12-16, is awarded to

Angeline Boulley for Firekeeper’s Daughter. The novel was praised by the Guardian as, “an interrogation of racist misogyny and a swift-paced, compelling thriller.”

This year also sees the introduction of the Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama. The award is named in honour of Thalia, a CrimeFest team member and a much-loved figure in the world of crime fiction, and who sadly died earlier this year.

The award is decided entirely by public vote from a longlist of the 43 TV programmes broadcast on British TV in the last year, based on a crime book. Ann Cleeves won the inaugural gong for Shetland, beating a strong shortlist that featured Antony Horowitz for Alex Rider, M.C. Beaton for Agatha Raisin and James Runcie for Grantchester.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: The crime genre has dominated the book charts and our TV screens, keeping many of us company, particularly in the last two challenging years. The genre never fails to offer escapism and entertainment, as well as often exploring big issues and emotions. As a genre that also often makes sense of a chaotic world, it’s helped many people and is something we need today more than ever. We’re proud to celebrate the best the genre offers.

CRIMEFEST had to postpone its 2020 and 2021 conventions, due to Covid restrictions. Hosted in Bristol, it is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.

Leading British crime fiction reviewers and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults, alongside the members of the School Library Association (SLA) form the CRIMEFEST judging panels, aside from Audible Sounds of Crime Award in which Audible listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Co-host of CRIMEFEST, Donna Moore, added: “We are proud to be one of the few genre awards that recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards to reflect the values of our convention, and the incredible diversity and reach of the genre which dominates the cultural landscape.

CRIMEFEST was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all commercially published authors and readers alike.

2022 CrimeFest Award Winners


Winter Count by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Simon & Schuster)


The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman read by Lesley Manville (Penguin Random House Audio)


Girl A by Abigail Dean, (HarperCollins)


Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks edited by Anna von Planta (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)


Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville, John Murray Press)


Twitch by M.G. Leonard (Walker Books)


Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Rock the Boat)


Shetland (season 6), based on the books by Ann Cleeves. Produced by Silverprint Pictures, part of ITV Studios; shown on BBC1.

Friday, 13 May 2022

CWA Dagger Award Shortlists Announced

The 2022 shortlists for the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime-writing genre, have been announced.

Created in 1955, the world-famous CWA Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

The Gold Dagger, which recognises the crime novel of the year, sees debut author Jacqueline Bublitz on the shortlist of six. Before You Knew My Name was called “extraordinary” by the CWA judges. Also in contention are Abir Mukherjee, a previous winner of the CWA Historical Dagger for The Shadows of Men praised for its “intricate plotting”, and the bestselling ‘Southern noir’ crime writer, SA Cosby, for Razorblade Tears.

Razorblade Tears, a dynamic revenge thriller that “pulls at the heartstrings” also makes it onto the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger shortlist. Sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the Fleming family-owned company that looks after the James Bond literary brand, this award celebrates the thriller of the year. Cosby is up against past CWA Gold Dagger winner, MW Craven, who is in contention with Dead Ground, alongside established names including Laura Lippman and Linwood Barclay.

The anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger is awarded to the best debut novel of the year. Among the rising stars is Janice Hallett, shortlisted with her debut The Appeal, which was a Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year, praised as a “dazzlingly clever cosy crime novel”. Also on the shortlist is How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina, described by The Times as a “joyous love/hate letter to contemporary Delhi.”

Booker Prize winner John Banville is a heavyweight contender on the Historical Dagger shortlist. The prizewinning novelist and literary polymath is in the running for April in Spain. Banville is up against Ray Celestin whose novel set in 1960s Los Angeles, Sunset Swing, is also up for the Gold Dagger.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger sees the award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen make the shortlist with The Rabbit Factor translated by David Hackston. It follows the quirky story of a statistical mathematician, who finds himself mixed up with shady businessmen. He’s up against the high-profile Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka, translated by Sam Malissa, which is set to hit cinemas starring Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “So many good titles and authors appeared on our long lists, but in a year of such overall excellence, to reach the shortlist is a terrific achievement. Congratulations to all the nominees, writers both established and new, publishers large and small; a diversity of quality demonstrating the independence of our judges.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. This year sees the bestselling Norwegian juggernaut Jo Nesbø on the shortlist with his story “London” from his first book of short stories, The Jealousy Man. Novelists Caroline England and Bryony Pearce are other names on the list.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction shortlist includes the “absorbing” account of a trafficked New Zealand woman in The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey by Julia Laite. Also, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe makes the list with his account of the Sackler family, who exploited America’s pain industry, fuelling the opioid epidemic. Judges praised it as a “tribute to investigative journalism”.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year sees firm favourites from the genre on the shortlist: Cath Staincliffe, Edward Marston, Lin Anderson, Mark Billingham and Susan Hill.

The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, sees publishing goliath HarperCollins on the list with its imprint Harper Fiction, as well as independent publisher Titan Books, part of the Titan Entertainment Group, which began life in the Forbidden Planet store in London.

The Daggers also celebrate unpublished authors with its annual competition for aspiring crime novelists. The competition to find the best new voices in the genre has been going for over 20 years. The winner will receive £500 as well as the attention of leading agents and top editors; over two dozen past winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger authors have been signed to date.

The CWA Diamond Dagger, awarded to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, is announced in early spring each year and in 2022 it was awarded to CJ Sansom.

The CWA Dagger shortlists were announced on 13 May at a reception hosted at CrimeFest.

The Dagger awards ceremony will be held at he Leonardo City hotel in London on 29 June, coinciding with National Crime Reading Month, which takes place throughout June. Tickets are available now from the CWA.

The Shortlists in Full:


Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz (Little, Brown; Sphere)

Sunset Swing by Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)

Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby (Headline Publishing Group; Headline)

The Unwilling by John Hart (Bonnier Books UK Ltd; Zaffre)

The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

The Trawlerman by William Shaw (Quercus; Riverrun)


Find You First by Linwood Barclay (HarperCollins; HQ)

The Pact by Sharon Bolton (Orion)

The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)

Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby (Headline Publishing Group)

Dead Ground by MW Craven (Little, Brown; Constable)

Dream Girl by Laura Lippman (Faber)


Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani (Thomas & Mercer)

Repentance by Eloísa Díaz (Orion Publishing Group; Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Mash House by Alan Gillespie (Unbound; Unbound Digital)

The Appeal by Janice Hallett (Profile Books; Viper Books)

Where Ravens Roost by Karin Nordin (HarperCollins; HQ)

How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina (Little, Brown)

Waking the Tiger by Mark Wightman (Hobeck Books)


April in Spain by John Banville (Faber)

Sunset Swing  by Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)

Crow Court by Andy Charman (Unbound)

Not One of Us by Alis Hawkins (Canelo)

Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison (Pan Macmillan; Macmillan)

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry (Canongate Books)


Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz translated by Rachel Ward (Orenda Books)

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka translated by Sam Malissa (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

Oxygen by Sacha Naspini translated by Clarissa Botsford (Europa Editions UK Ltd; Europa Editions)

People Like Them by Samira Sedira translated by Lara Vergnaud (Bloomsbury Publishing; Raven Books)

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)


Blindsided’ by Caroline England in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

London’ in The Jealousy Man and other stories by Jo Nesbⱷ edited by Robert Ferguson (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

With the Others’ by TM Logan in Afraid of the Shadows edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds)

Flesh of a Fancy Woman’ by Paul Magrs in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

Changeling’ by Bryony Pearce in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

‘When I Grow Up’ by Robert Scragg in Afraid of the Shadows edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds)


The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion by Dr Gwen Adshead & Eileen Horne (Faber)

The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

The Unusual Suspect by Ben Machell (Canongate Books)

The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A true story of sex, crime and the meaning of justice, by Julia Laite (Profile Books)

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Pan Macmillan; Picador)

The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Murders that Stunned an Empire by Julie Kavanagh (Atlantic Books; Grove Press UK)


Cath Staincliffe

Edward Marston

Lin Anderson

Mark Billingham

Susan Hill


Faber & Faber

HarperCollins; Harper Fiction

Penguin Random House; Michael Joseph

Pushkin Press; Pushkin Vertigo

Titan Books

Profile Books; Viper

DEBUT DAGGER Sponsored by ProWritingAid

Henry’s Bomb by Kevin Bartlett

Holloway Castle by Laura Ashton Hill

The 10:12 by Anna Maloney

The Dead of Egypt by David Smith

The Dieppe Letters by Liz Rachel Walker

CWA Daggers – The Categories


This award is for the best crime novel by an author of any nationality. It was originally created in 1955, under the name of the Crossed Red Herrings Award. It was renamed the Gold Dagger in 1960.


Eligible books in this category are thrillers set in any period and include, but are not limited to, spy fiction, psychological thrillers and action/adventure stories.


This award is for the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality.


This award is for a crime novel not originally written in English and which has been translated into English for UK publication.


This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime-related theme by an author of any nationality.


This award is for the best historical crime novel, set in any period up to 50 years prior to the year in which the award will be made.


This award is for any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment.


The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by an established crime writer who has long been popular with borrowers from libraries, and who has supported libraries and their users.

DEBUT DAGGER sponsored by ProWritingAid

A competition for the opening of a crime novel and synopsis, chosen by judges.


This prestigious Dagger is awarded annually to the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year.


Awarded every year to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, and who has made a significant contribution to the genre. Votes from CWA members go forward to be deliberated on by an independent panel.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Darker Side of a Blonde by Linda Regan


The Burning Question will be my ninth, published, novel. 

I always wanted to write, but being born into a show business family meant my career as an actress kicked in at an early age, consequently writing books took a back seat. However, I always kept a diary, and to day I am very grateful I did. I would highly recommend any budding author to do the same.

Mine was a kind of journal at a young age, methodical I’d say (ie: marmalade and toast for breakfast. Daddy learning to play Beatle songs on his guitar)! However, my diary scribbling changed when I was seventeen, and worked with Diana Dors.

I only had one line in a television show with her, and she was a Hollywood legend. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was determined to make no mistakes and be professional. However, it wasn’t to be and on the day in question things went from bad to worse, with the consequence I arrived an hour late at the studio. The complete unit had been kept waiting for little me, who was a mere one-line actress. Diana too, had been kept waiting, sitting in her Winnebago for the whole hour that I was late. As I arrived the director was standing at the gates, and quite rightly shrieked at me, calling me unprofessional and extremely rude and threatened that I would never work again. I immediately burst into tears, making matters much worse, as my perfectly made-up face was now streaking black mascara down the cream foundation blended onto my face and making me look like Crewe Railway Station.

The make-up department then started yelling at me. That was the point that Diana Dors came out of her trailer, with hands raised and palms facing my angry employers, she told them all to, ‘Pipe down and stop yelling.’ She put her arm around me and took me to her trailer. There, she dried my eyes with a tissue, listened to my understandable reason for my lateness, and handed me a hand mirror telling me to redo my face while she made me a cup of sweet tea. That’s when she told me I should keep a diary, ‘As, when you are young and blonde and dolly, (her words), you got picked on a lot in this industry. She said she kept a diary because one day she intended to write her autobiography from it, (which she did, and I can highly recommend all volumes). 

I took her advice and when I read back my diary input from that day, I notice my writing style changed. Diana had, unknowingly, taught me to pour out my fears, emotions and feelings onto the blank page.

So that was my first lesson in crime writing. As an actress I have faced the terrors of many a first night in a play, the fear of forgetting lines, the fear of finding a theatre and a town when you are on the road, touring, alone. And then, finding your way back after a show, again, alone in the dark, in a strange town, to where you are living for the week your show is performing there. 

I now write about those stomach-churning moments, in the guise of my victims as I write my books.

I love creating characters (something I have done for many years as an actress, creating characters from larger than life, to timid, or quirky etc), and here’s where my police come in. They have colourful, hopefully, in some cases comedic and entertaining, personalities. They can bring the lightness and the dark to a tale, something I strongly believe every story needs. And again, who doesn’t love a bit of romance, there’s always a bit somewhere in my books. I think we all need that, too.

My latest crime novel – The Burning Question, is about arson. Personally, I have never been in a fire, and have no idea how it found its way into my mind, I did read arson attacks have increased greatly in London, where my book is set. But, the arson is only part of it. The puzzle comes in the question of who are the victims and what is their connection. The crimes are taking place miles apart, but the signs are the same. So, there is a serial arsonist who needs to be stopped. But with no clues to who or why, most of the murder team are baffled. However, a new, and very young police recruit has worked it out. If she offers this information, she will put her own life in a perilous situation, but if she doesn’t, how many more young victims will meet that terrible end?

Enter an unexpected clue, or person, that sets the whole force watching their backs.

The Burning Question by Linda Regan (Headline Accent) Out Now

When an arson attack strikes in south London, leaving three people dead, it quickly becomes clear that the youngest victim, Danielle Low, was the intended target. With no clear motive, and the killer at large, DCI Banham must act fast. But working with his partner, DI Alison Grainger, has its own challenges that threaten to stall the investigation. Then another body is found in similar circumstances and he knows that there is someone far more sinister at work. As they begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, the case unexpectedly leads close to home and with time of the essence, and the killer always one step ahead, can DCI Banham and his team work together to put a stop to the depravity before another life is lost?

More information about her work can be found on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter @Linda_Regan