Jim Kelly

The CWA Dagger in the Library 2006

Winner: Jim Kelly

The Dagger in the Library, sponsored by Random House and worth £1500, is awarded to "the author of crime fiction whose work is currently giving the greatest enjoyment to readers"; authors are nominated by UK libraries and Readers' Groups and judged by a panel of librarians. The award emphasises the rôle played by libraries in providing an audience for authors whose careers are developing, and is given for the body of an author's work, not for an individual title.

The 2006 winner is Jim Kelly. His cheque and dagger were presented by Ben Wright, UK Sales Director for Random House. The judges said: ‘His books are described as "great reads" and "treats" – the characters are sympathetic and believable, their relationships with each other and with that moody Fen landscape developing in a way that make the books special. The books are easy to read yet not lightweight, with complex plots which engage the reader’s interest.’

Jim Kelly is a journalist. He lives in Ely with the biographer Midge Gilles and their young daughter. The Water Clock, his first novel, was shortlisted for 2002 John Creasey Memorial Dagger for best first crime novel of 2002. And his second, The Fire Baby, was chosen by Booklist magazine as one of the top ten crime novels of 2004. Summer 2006 sees the paperback publication of his third novel, The Moon Tunnel, and the hardback publication of his latest book The Coldest Blood. All feature the journalist Philip Dryden.

Highly commended: Lesley Horton

Lesley Horton

Judges’ comments:
‘Lesley Horton’s books are well-crafted, realistic and convincing. She writes well, and handles controversial contemporary issues with great sensitivity. The novels are set in Bradford, and capture the city, its environment and cultural background very well. Very satisfying reads, with an increasing number of fans looking eagerly for the next work.’

After a career in teaching Lesley Horton began writing her first crime novel in 1996. The break came at the Winchester Conference when an agent read the first page of the manuscript, took the rest home and by the following Wednesday had agreed to represent her. That novel, Snares of Guilt, was published by Orion in 2002. It was followed in 2003 by On Dangerous Ground. The third, Devils in the Mirror, came out in 2005 and her fourth, The Hollow Core, is due out in December this year.

Her website is


The other authors on this year's shortlist were:

Anthony Horowitz
Margaret Murphy

Danuta Reah (Carla Banks)
C.J. Sansom

Cath Staincliffe