Saturday 24 February 2018

The game is afoot: crime writers see whowonit

Ruth Dudley Edwards predicts blood in the drawing room before the denouement at the annual crime fiction awards in London

Hercule Poirot
Hercule Poirot
Agatha Christie's work is among the CWA nominations
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

One of the things you have to accept as a crime novelist is that although your genre is immensely popular with the public, it's openly despised and patronised by the litterati, most of whom probably read and watch it on the sly. Like many of my mates in that world, I've learned to laugh at literary snobbery, and in my Carnage on the Committee, a satire on literary prizes, I took vengeance on some of my pretentious bete noirs, including the late Harold Pinter, who used his position as a respected playwright to demand that his adolescent political opinions and atrocious poetry be taken seriously.

Anyway, since 1953, the doughty Crime Writers' Association (CWA) has fought to promote crime books, partly through the Daggers it awards to what its judges consider the cream of the UK-published crop. Pause for a brief brag: our own Gene Kerrigan won the 2012 Gold Dagger for the best crime novel of the year with The Rage, and yours truly, in 2010, the Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction, with The Omagh Bombing and the Families' Pursuit of Justice.

These days, in partnership with ITV and a TV production company, the CWA hangs out in a wider world. Tonight, if you've got ITV3, you can see the glamorous Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, where CWA gongs were given out alongside a Film Dagger to Skyfall, Best Actor and Actress Daggers to David Tennant and Olivia Colman for Broadchurch, and an International TV Dagger to The Killing III.

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