Winners of the prestigious Dagger Awards, given by the British Crime Writers Association (CWA) to honor the best in crime writing, were announced this week with author M. W. Craven winning the Gold Dagger for his novel, The Puppet Show.
The John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, awarded to the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality first published in the United Kingdom in English, went to journalist Chris Hammer for his debut novel Scrublands (Headline – Wildfire) set in Australia. In this story, a journalist returns to a small Australian community on the anniversary of the slaying for five parishioners by a young priest. But the reporter’s perspective begins to shift as he meets locals and hears their side. And then there are the other deaths in the region . . .
The ALCS Gold Dagger for Nonfiction went to Ben Macintyre for The Spy and the Traitor (Viking), a “a tale of betrayal, duplicity and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War.” Le Carré described it as “the best true spy story I have ever read.”
The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger went to Holly Watt for To The Lions (Bloomsbury – Raven Books). Watt, an investigative journalist herself, has created a protagonist who is “a female journalist who stumbles on a dark conspiracy.”
The International Dagger went to Israeli author Dov Alfon for A Long Night in Paris, translated by Daniella Zamir (Maclehose Press). Alfon is a former intelligence officer with one of the most secretive arms of the Israel Defense Forces. He was also editor-in-chief of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. This story, about a stand-off between Chinese gangsters and Israeli intelligence in Paris after an Israeli tech entrepreneur goes missing, is his first novel.
The Sapere Historical Dagger went to S. G. Maclean for Destroying Angel (Quercus Fiction). This is the third in her Seeker series, set in 1655 in Yorkshire. It features Capt. Damian Seeker from Oliver Cromwell’s handpicked guard. McLean holds master and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Aberdeen.
The Short Story Dagger went to Danuta Kot (writing as Danuta Reah) for her story “The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing,” which appeared in The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing and other Fantastic Female Fables (Fantastic Books). Highly commended in this category was Teresa Solana for her story, “I Detest Mozart,” which appeared in her collection The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories.
The Dagger in The Library, which is selected from librarian nominations for an author’s body of work and support of libraries went to Kate Ellis, creator of the Devon-set historical crime series featuring Wesley Peterson and spooky DI Joe Plantagenet based in North Yorkshire. She has sold more than three-quarters of a million books worldwide.
The Debut Dagger went to Australian author Shelley Burr for her novel, Wake. American author Catherine Hendricks was highly commended in this category for her novel, Hardways.
The CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey and began giving awards in 1955. Its first award went to Winston Graham, author of Poldark. You can learn more about the Dagger Awards and the 2019 winners here.