I am celebrating this week, after a surprise win at the Daggers Awards on 5th of July. Margaret Murphy and I jointly won the Short Story Dagger, Margaret with her story The Message and me with Laptop, both from Best Eaten Cold, a Murder Squad anthology, edited by Martin Edwards. Many thanks to Martin for his excellent work as our editor, and to Matilda Richards at The History Press who approached us initially with the idea of doing a new anthology, also to Barry Forshaw for writing the foreword and, most of all, to Murder Squad. Since forming, in 2000, at Margaret’s instigation, we’ve been able to support and encourage each other and jointly promote our work and that of the genre as a whole. I’ve been lucky enough to be short listed twice before, for the John Creasey best first novel in 1995 and for the dagger in the library in 2006. It is a tremendous honour and a real boost to get on a shortlist (and something to include on book covers and in biographies for time immemorial!).
I can tell you now it genuinely was a surprise to win, there is no subtle whispering in corners to tip you the wink. So I was very relaxed during the meal before the announcements, not expecting to have to do more than share in the applause. Our amazement at winning was such that I’m only glad that Margaret was able to string together some words of thanks. I was useless.
As a reader, when choosing library books, I’d often be drawn by a Dagger reference on the cover. A guarantee of quality if you like. I think awarding the Daggers is the most important aspect of the CWA’s work and I’d like to say a big thank you to those in the CWA who have worked so hard to raise the profile of the prizes in recent years. Congratulations too to everyone who made the shortlists and to those on the long lists for the Gold, John Creasey and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers. Those winners will be announced later this year.
Finally a massive thanks to all the crime fiction readers out there – the most important part of the equation.