2021 Ngaio Marsh Award Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2021 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel, the New Zealand crime fiction award, was announced September 15.


  • The Murder Club (Nikki Crutchley, Oak House Press)
  • Sprigs (Brannavan Gnanalingam, Lawrence and Gibson)
  • The Tally Stick (Carl Nixon, RHNZ Vintage)
  • The Secrets of Strangers (Charity Norman, A&U)
  • Tell Me Lies (J P Pomare, Hachette)


  • The Girl in the Mirror (Rose Carlyle, A&U)
  • The Beautiful Dead (Kim Hunt)
  • Where the Truth Lies (Karina Kilmore, S&S)
  • For Reasons of Their Own (Chris Stuart, Original Sin)
  • While the Fantail Lives (Alan Titchall, Devon Media)


  • Weed: A New Zealand story (James Borrowdale, Penguin)
  • Rock College: An unofficial history of Mount Eden Prison (Mark Derby, Massey University Press)
  • From Dog Collar to Dog Collar (Bruce Howat)
  • Gangland (Jared Savage, HarperCollins NZ)
  • Black Hands: Inside the Bain family murders (Martin Van Beynen, PRHNZ).


  • Katipo Joe (Brian Falkner, Scholastic NZ)
  • Red Edge (Des Hunt, Scholastic NZ)
  • A Trio of Sophies (Eileen Merriman, Penguin)
  • Deadhead (Glenn Wood, OneTree House).

The winners will be revealed during an online event in association with WORD Christchurch on October 30.

2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards Longlist

The 12 books up for the 2021 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel, the New Zealand crime fiction award, were announced July 14.


 The Stone Weta, by Octavia Cade (Paper Road Press)
 The Girl in the Middle, by Rose Carlyle (Allen & Unwin)
 The Snow Thief, by C.J. Carver (Right Nuisance)
 Shakti, by Rajorshi Chakraborti (Penguin)
 Dance Prone, by David Coventry (Pan Macmillan)
 The Murder Club, by Nikki Crutchley (Oak House Press)
 Sprigs, by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson)
 Caught Between, by Jeannie McLean (Self-published)
 The Tally Stick, by Carl Nixon (Random House)
 The Secrets of Strangers, by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
 Tell Me Lies, by J.P. Pomare (Hachette)
 Soldiers, by Tom Remiger (Text)

INAUGURAL PRIZE FOR NOVEL FOR YOUNGER READERS. Also, for the first time, a commendation will be presented to a novel written specifically for younger readers. The finalists are:

 Katipo Joe: Blitzkrieg, by Brian Falkner (Scholastic New Zealand)
 Red Edge, by Des Hunt (Scholastic New Zealand)
 A Trio of Sophies, by Eileen Merriman (Penguin)
 Deadhead, by Glenn Wood (OneTree House)

The Ngaio Marsh finalists for Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Non-fiction will be announced on August 28. The winners will be unveiled in October.

2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards

The winners of the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for the New Zealand crime fiction were announced at the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival on October 30.


  • AUE by Becky Manawatu. [Note: WordPress does not support the proper E with a macron.]


  • The Nancys by RWR McDonald

Both were debut books.

The judges called The Nancys —

“Hilarious and inventive, the dynamic between the young protagonist and the adult characters is unusual and special. A clever hat-tip to one of the most indelible female characters in the genre, and a story that blends crime and humour in unexpected ways. A book with standout, oddball characters.”

The judges said about AUE:

“A breathtaking expose of lives lived on the margins, and the fight for redemption and absolution … takes technical chances without being overbearing, and it’s affecting without being schmaltzy … Utterly devastating and some of the finest prose I have come across in the genre or in any recent Kiwi literature … Manawatu doesn’t use crime as a plot device but shows it woven into the fabric of her characters’ lives, defining them, sometimes destroying them, and serving as a perverse unifier.”

It was the award’s tenth anniversary season.

2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards Finalists

The finalists for the  2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, the New Zealand crime fiction awards, were announced August 9.

The finalists for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards are: 


  • Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
  • Girl from the Tree House by Gudrun Frerichs
  • Au? by Becky Manawatu (M?karo Press)
  • The Nancys by RWR McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
  • In the Clearing by JP Pomare (Hachette NZ)
  • The Wild Card by Renée (The Cuba Press)


  • Tugga’s Mob by Stephen Johnson (Clan Destine Press)
  • Au? by Becky Manawatu (M?karo Press)
  • The Nancys by RWR McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
  • Into the Void by Christina O’Reilly

The winners will be announced at the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival, being held from 29 October to 1 November.

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]

2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards

Dame Fiona Kidman, Kelley Dennett, and JP Pomare.

The winners of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards for the best New Zealand crime novel were announced in Christchurch on September 14.

Best Novel

  • THIS MORTAL BOY by Fiona Kidman (Penguin)

“Despite the historical nature of the novel, the spirit still resonates in our time with regards to bigotry and discrimination,” said the judges. “The quality of the writing is extraordinary: a richly textured sense of 1950s New Zealand and an elegant structure and flow creating a harrowing tale full of humanity.”

Best First Novel

  • CALL ME EVIE by JP Pomare (Hachette)

“An interesting take on unreliable narrators,” said the judges. “Evocative and elegant writing. An intricate story packed with suspense and a fascinating exploration of the concept of false memory.”

Best Non-Fiction


“A tragic story approached with sincerity and compassion,” said the judges. “There was a sense of understated rage at the injustice of it all. Dennett has, with compassion and respect, shown us the young woman who was so much more than a ‘teen prostitute’ who went missing from K Road.”

More 2019 Mystery Awards

Some of the awards we’ve been tracking have reached the stage of picking the winners, while others are just now unfurling longlists and shortlists.

2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The winner of the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, sponsored by the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, has been announced:

  • The Boat People by Sharon Bala

The prize, established in 2011, is given annually to a book-length work of fiction that “best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

2018 Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing

The winner of the 2018 Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing has been announced by North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers. The trophy goes to “the book of the year that best represents the conception of literary excellence in crime writing.”

  • WINNING NOVEL Lou Berney, November Road (William Morrow) 

The award will be presented November 1 at Bouchercon.

CWA Dagger Awards Shortlist

British Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) announced the 2019 CWA Dagger Awards Shortlist. The winners will be announced in London, England, on October 24.

Congratulations to Lavie Tidhar’s whose “Bag Man”, in The Outcast Hours anthology, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin, has made the shortlist in the CWA Short Story Dagger Award category.

CWA Gold Dagger:

  • All the Hidden Truths, by Claire Askew (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Puppet Show, by M.W. Craven: (Constable)
  • What We Did, by Christobel Kent (Sphere)
  • Unto Us a Son Is Given, by Donna Leon (Heinemann)
  • American by Day, by Derek B Miller (Doubleday)
  • A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better, by Benjamin Wood (Scribner)

CWA John Creasey (New Blood):

  • All the Hidden Truths, by Claire Askew (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Boy at the Door, by Alex Dahl (Head of Zeus)
  • Scrublands, by Chris Hammer (Wildfire)
  • Turn a Blind Eye, by Vicky Newham (HQ)
  • Blood & Sugar, by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Mantle)
  • Overkill, by Vanda Symon (Orenda)

CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-fiction:

  • All That Remains: A Life in Death, by Sue Black (Doubleday)
  • An Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere, by Mikita Brottman (Canongate)
  • Murder by the Book: A Sensational Chapter in Victorian Crime, by Claire Harman (Viking)
  • The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Hutchinson)
  • The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War, by Ben Macintyre (Viking)
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold (Doubleday)

CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:

  • Give Me Your Hand, by Megan Abbott (Picador)
  • Safe Houses, by Dan Fesperman (Head of Zeus)
  • Killing Eve: No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings (John Murray)
  • Lives Laid Away, by Stephen Mack Jones (Soho Crime)
  • To the Lions, by Holly Watt (Bloomsbury)
  • Memo from Turner, by Tim Willocks (Jonathan Cape)

CWA Sapere Books Historical Dagger:

  • The Quaker, by Liam McIlvanney (Harper Fiction)
  • Destroying Angel, by S.G. MacLean: (Quercus)
  • Smoke and Ashes, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
  • The House on Half Moon Street, by Alex Reeve (Raven)
  • Tombland, by C.J. Sansom: (Mantle)
  • Blood & Sugar, by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Mantle)

CWA International Dagger:

  • A Long Night in Paris, by Dov Alfon; translated by Daniella Zamir (Maclehose Press)
  • Weeping Waters, by Karin Brynard; translated by Maya Fowler and Isobel Dixon (World Noir)
  • The Cold Summer, by Gianrico Carofiglio; translated by Howard Curtis (Bitter Lemon Press)
  • Newcomer, by Keigo Higashino; translated by Giles Murray (Little, Brown)
  • The Root of Evil, by Håkan Nesser; translated by Sarah Death (Mantle)
  • The Forger, by Cay Rademacher; translated by Peter Millar (Arcadia)

CWA Short Story Dagger:

  • “Strangers in a Pub,” by Martin Edwards (from Ten Year Stretch, edited by Martin Edwards and Adrian Muller; No Exit Press)
  • “Death Becomes Her,” by Syd Moore (from The Strange Casebook, by Syd Moore; Point Blank Books)
  • “The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing,” by Danuta Reah (from The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing and Other Fantastic Female Fables, by Danuta Reah [aka Danuta Kot]; Fantastic)
  • “I Detest Mozart,” by Teresa Solana (from The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories, by Teresa Solana; Bitter Lemon Press)
  • “Bag Man,” by Lavie Tidhar (from The Outcast Hours, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin; Solaris)

Dagger in the Library:

  • M.C. Beaton
  • Mark Billingham
  • John Connolly
  • Kate Ellis
  • C.J. Sansom
  • Cath Staincliffe

Debut Dagger
(for the opening of a crime novel by an uncontracted writer):

  • Wake, by Shelley Burr
  • The Mourning Light, by Jerry Krause
  • Hardways, by Catherine Hendricks
  • The Firefly, by David Smith
  • A Thin Sharp Blade, by Fran Smith

Diamond Dagger Recipient

  • Robert Goddard

2019 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award

Sisters in Crime (SinC) announced the winner of the 2019 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award

  • Jessica Martinez of Orcutt, CA,

The award, which honors the memory of pioneering African-American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland with a $2,000 grant to an emerging writer of color, was created in 2014 to support SinC’s vision statement that the organization should serve as the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing.

2019 Ned Kelly Award Longlists

The Australian Crime Writers Association announced the longlists for the 2019 Ned Kelly Awards. The complete lists are at the link.

2019 Ngaio Marsh Award Nominees

The 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award Nominees in all three categories are listed at the link (we previously posted the Best Novel longlist here.)