The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.
Mick Herron’s Joe Country, Claire Askew’s What You Pay For and Lou Berney’s November Road are all in contention for the CWA Gold Dagger, awarded to the best crime novel. November Road is also on the shortlist for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller, up against One Way Out by AA Dhand, Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan and the Richard and Judy pick The Whisper Man by Alex North.
Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “As the CWA Daggers are unmatched for their reputation and longevity, these shortlists offer a showcase of the finest writing in crime fiction and non-fiction. They reveal the remarkable variety and huge relevance of the genre, which continues to dominate book sales and to shape our cultural landscape.”
The much-anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger highlights the best debut novels. Among the six shortlisted debuts are Little White Lies by Philippa East, acclaimed as ‘unputdownable’, and Trevor Wood, who served in the Royal Navy for 16 years, makes the list with The Man on the Street, featuring a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, dubbed by Lee Child as ‘an instant classic’.
Abir Mukherjee’s Death in the East is not only shortlisted for the Gold Dagger but also the Sapere Books Historical Dagger. He contends with Metropolis, completed just before Philip Kerr’s untimely death and SG Maclean, who won the Dagger last year for Destroying Angel; she returns with The Bear Pit.
The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger shortlist features Finland’s acclaimed and award-winning writer, Antti Tuomainen, with Little Siberia translated by David Hackston. The king of Helsinki noir is up against Marion Brunet, the winner of the prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature policière in 2018, whose novel Summer of Reckoning is translated by Katherine Gregor.
The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story.
Syd Moore, who was shortlisted in the category in 2019, returns with her short story “Easily Made” in 12 Strange Days of Christmas. Paul Finch, a former cop and journalist turned bestselling crime writer, sees his short story “The New Lad” (published in the anthology Exit Wounds) make the shortlist. They are up against established authors including Christopher Fowler, author of over fifty novels and short-story collections, and the blockbuster American mystery writer Jeffery Deaver, who won the Short Story Dagger in 2004.
The shortlist for the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction includes Casey Cep, a staff writer at the New York Times whose first book Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Also on the shortlist is Caroline Goode for Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod. It’s the heart-breaking true story of Banaz Mahmod, the young Londoner murdered by her own family for falling in love with the wrong man, adapted for TV starring Keeley Hawes as Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode.
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’s shortlisted nominees are Christopher Brookmyre, Jane Casey, Alex Gray and Quintin Jardine.
One of the anticipated highlights of the awards is the Debut Dagger competition, open to unknown and uncontracted writers. Settings for the shortlisted novels are varied and range from modern-day America, rural Australia, an organic farm near Bern, 2011 Cuba, a contemporary offshore oil platform and sixteenth century Orkney.
This year also features the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, launched in 2019, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing.
The winners of the 2020 Daggers will be announced at an awards ceremony, due to take place on 22 October.
The Shortlists in Full:
What You Pay For by Claire Askew (Hodder & Stoughton)
November Road by Lou Berney(Harper Fiction)
Forced Confessions by John Fairfax (Little, Brown)
Joe Country by Mick Herron (John Murray)
Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (Sphere)
IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER
November Road by Lou Berney (Harper Fiction)
This is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield (Hodder & Stoughton)
One Way Out by AA Dhand (Bantam Press)
Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (Raven Books)
Cold Storage by David Koepp(HQ)
The Whisper Man by Alex North:(Michael Joseph)
JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha (Faber & Faber)
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Michael Joseph)
Little White Lies by Philippa East (HQ)
The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley (Trapeze)
The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood(Quercus Fiction)
SAPERE BOOKS HISTORICAL DAGGER
In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins (The Dome Press)
Metropolis by Philip Kerr(Quercus Fiction)
The Bear Pit by SG MacLean (Quercus Fiction)
Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve (Raven Books)
The Paper Bark Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu (Constable)
CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER
Summer of Reckoning by Marion Brunet, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press)
The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)
Like Flies from Afar by K Ferrari, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books)
November by Jorge Galán, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable)
The Fragility of Bodies by Sergio Olguín, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press)
Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)
SHORT STORY DAGGER
The Bully by Jeffery Deaver in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
The New Lad by Paul Finch in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
The Washing by Christopher Fowler in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
#Me Too by Lauren Henderson in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
The Recipe by Louise Jensen in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Easily Made by Syd Moore in 12 Strange Days of Christmas (Point Blank Press)
ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION
Furious Hours by Casey Cep (William Heinemann)
Corrupt Bodies by Peter Everett (Icon Books)
Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod by Caroline Goode (Oneworld Publications)
The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury by Sean O’Connor (Simon & Schuster)
The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking by Adam Sisman (Profile Books)
The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton (Picador)
DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY
The Spae-Wife by Anna Caig
Whipstick by Leanne Fry
Pesticide by Kim Hays
Emergency Drill by Nicholas Morrish
Revolution Never Lies by Josephine Moulds
Bitter Lake by Michael Munro
Bitter Lemon Press
Head of Zeus