Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Diamond Dagger

I mentioned Janet Laurence the other day. We are in touch at the moment because she and I constitute the grandly named ‘CWA Diamond Dagger nominations sub-committee.’ This simply means that we select suitable candidates for the full CWA committee, which then decides who will receive UK crime writing’s greatest prize, its lifetime achievement award for ‘sustained excellence.’

Nominations come in from CWA members. Not every name suggested meets the stringent requirements for the award, to put it mildly (the only secret I will reveal is that to my utter astonishment, a kind though over-generous person once nominated me…). But a look at the list of Diamond Dagger winners suggests that in the end, quality counts.

The most recent winner was John Harvey, whose books I have enjoyed since Lonely Hearts, the very first one, appeared around the time I first began to review crime novels. This is one of the great pleasures of reviewing – occasionally you come across a writer you might not otherwise have encountered, whose style and panache takes your breath away.

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