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And the Dagger Goes To …

We break down The Dagger Awards, celebrating the best in crime writing, and reveal its very special Diamond winner.


Since 1955, Britain has honored the best in crime literature with the Dagger Awards. Every year, to cap off the end of National Crime Reading Month, 10 Daggers are awarded to the best in crime and thriller writing for the year. They are considered one of the more prestigious British writing awards in the mystery genre. And with this year’s Crime Writers’ Association ceremony around the corner, we want to honor the history of the awards and the winner of its most prestigious prize, the Diamond Dagger.

Awarded to a writer who has demonstrated career excellence in writing about crime, the Diamond Dagger is the looker its name suggests: Dripping in Cartier diamonds, it’s arguably one of the most stunning literary awards. The criteria for the award is sustained excellence in writing, as well as having significant contribution to crime writing published in the English language. And who it goes to is decided by fellow writers.

This year, the recipient of the Diamond Dagger Award is author Catherine Aird. Aird (the pen name for Kinn Hamilton McIntosh) has written more than 20 volumes of detective mysteries and three collections of short stories. Best known for her Chronicles of Calleshire mystery series featuring Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan and Detective Constable W.E. Crosby, Aird crafts mysteries that strike a seamless balance between cozy and police procedural.

The series has enjoyed enuring popularity and is noted for its intelligent plot lines and regular use of humor. Amazon, the first novel in the series, was published in 1966 to widespread acclaim as an exemplary addition to the British mystery.

Aird joins the likes of fellow winners Ruth Rendell, Lawrence Block, and Lee Child. Commenting on her upcoming win, she expresses her gratitude on being selected for the award by her peers: “I’m so glad to be part of such a happy group as the CWA, and we do all tend to read each other’s work. I think I’ve enjoyed writing my books probably more than my readers have enjoyed reading them.”

The official awards will be held on June 30. In addition to Aird’s lifetime achievement award, other notable awards are the Steel Dagger for best thriller, the Debut Dagger for best debut novel, and the Gold Dagger for best crime novel.

To learn more about the Dagger Awards and Catherine Aird, visit the Crime Writers Association website.

Photo: Courtesy of Open Road Media