THE FINALISTS for the 2011 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, which will be presented as part of the upcoming Christchurch Arts Festival, have now been announced today.
The award, now in its second year, is made annually for the best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident. Its namesake, Dame Ngaio Marsh, is renowned worldwide as one of the four iconic “Queens of Crime” of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The award was established last year with the blessing of Dame Ngaio’s closest living relatives.
Over the past two months an expert panel consisting of seven local and international judges has been considering the best examples of locally written crime and thriller fiction published in New Zealand during 2010. The judges are now pleased to announce that the finalists are:
• BLOOD MEN by Paul Cleave (Random House) • CAPTURED by Neil Cross (Simon & Schuster) • HUNTING BLIND by Paddy Richardson (Penguin) • SLAUGHTER FALLS by Alix Bosco (Penguin)
This year’s winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel will be announced at a ceremony at the conclusion of the “Setting the Stage for Murder” event at the TelstraClear Club in North Hagley Park on the afternoon of Sunday 21 August 2011. New York Times bestselling international crime writers Tess Gerritsen and John Hart will also be appearing at the event. The winner will receive a distinctive handcrafted trophy designed and created by New Zealand sculptor and Unitec art lecturer Gina Ferguson, a set of Ngaio Marsh novels courtesy of HarperCollins, and a cheque for $1,000 provided by the Christchurch Writers Festival Trust.
“The four finalists are a great representation of both the quality and depth of contemporary Kiwi-written crime fiction,” said Judging Convenor Craig Sisterson. “It was a particularly tough decision for the panel this year, as judges were impressed by each of the books on the longlist, and there was a real diversity of storytelling, settings, and styles. There were some very good local crime novels published in 2010 that haven’t become finalists, but that’s a good sign of the growing strength of our own indigenous interpretation of a genre that’s popular around the world.”
Like Dame Ngaio in her heyday, local crime writers are now showing that they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder, quality-wise, with their more well-known international contemporaries, said Sisterson. “We should be proud of our best crime writers, and support and celebrate their success, just like we are justifiably proud of other New Zealanders who achieve great things in their chosen field.”