Phil Lovesey wins the CWA Short Story Dagger 2011

Prize: £500

Phil Lovesey

Harrogate, 22 July: Phil Lovesey was this evening named as winner of the 2011 CWA Short Story Dagger, for Homework from The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Vol 8. As well as the Dagger, he wins a cheque for £500 for his “neat and original study of relationships and revenge”.

The judges commended East Of Suez, West Of Charing Cross Road by John Lawton from Agents Of Treachery edited by Otto Penzler and published by Corvus. Third prize went to The Dead Club by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer from First Thrills, edited by Lee Child and also published by Corvus.

Two more stories from from First Thrills made the shortlist: Wednesday’s Child by Ken Bruen and The Princess of Felony Flats by Bill Cameron.

This competition was open to any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment, between 1st June, 2010 and 31st May, 2011.

The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Vol 8


Phil Lovesey

From The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Vol 8, edited by Maxim Jakubowski and published by Constable & Robinson

Synopsis – a schoolgirl, whose father is in prison due to a teacher’s testimony, uses Shakespeare’s Hamlet as inspiration for getting revenge on him and her mother’s brutal boyfriend.

Judges comments – A cleverly structured piece with clever narration allying character situations to Hamlet. A neat and original study of relationships and revenge taking the form of a girl’s school project that gradually reveals to us the devious game that she was up to.

Born 1963 and old enough to know better, Phil Lovesey has four novels published by HarperCollins - Death Duties, Ploughing Potter’s Field, When the Ashes Burn and The Screaming Tree; together with numerous short stories for UK anthologies and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Taking a short break from novel writing, Phil is currently teaching English in Wolverhampton, and it’s through his school experience that Homework derives.

Agents of Treachery

East of Suez, West of Charing Cross Road

John Lawton

From Agents of Treachery, edited by Otto Penzler and published by the Corvus imprint of Atlantic Books

Synopsis - Hapless British army officer who posted to the Middle East while England is losing bits of the Empire is mistaken by the Russians for someone else and finds himself being blackmailed into spying for them. Chance and circumstances bring him back to England and into the arms of the prostitute with whom he falls in love. However she is harbouring a secret of her own.

Judges comments – Funny and enjoyable tale with a sense of mischief that is set against the solid historical background of the Cold War and the slow crumbling of the Empire.

John Lawton is the director of over forty television programmes, author of a dozen screenplays, three or four kids’ books and a fair few novels – some acclaimed, some not. Approaching old age he is the possessor of a gold bus pass and is alarmed to find himself increasingly restless, itinerant and untrustworthy. He grows leeks, garlic and potatoes and is devoted to the works of Franz Schubert and Barbara Gowdy. At the moment he is lives in the Derbyshire Pennines, but can often be found (or lost) elsewhere.

First Thrills

The Dead Club, Wednesday’s Child and The Princess of Felony Flats are all taken from First Thrills, edited by Lee Child and published by the Corvus imprint of Atlantic Books.

The Dead Club

Michael Palmer & Daniel Palmer

Synopsis – A doctor whilst in Las Vegas is duped into joining a syndicate betting on a game of chance where winning or losing depends on who lives and who dies. Unfortunately greed takes over from the Hippocratic oath.

Judges comments – An inventive game of chance with a medical background, which is not as it seems and proving that what goes on in Las Vegas does not always stay in Las Vegas.

Michael Palmer is the author of 16 novels of medical and political suspense, all international best sellers. His books have sold millions of copies and have been translated into forty languages. Extreme Measures was made into the hit film starring Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Gene Hackman. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and is currently working on his 17th novel.


Wednesday’s Child

Ken Bruen

Synopsis – An American washes up in Galway and becomes involved in a kidnapping which turns out to be not what he thought. He also finds himself facing a manipulative ‘victim’ with her own nasty agenda based on an old poem.

Judges comments – In Wednesday’s Child the prose is spare and tight and the dialogue snappy. It tells how a traditional rhyme takes on a new meaning that could be the difference between life and death.

Ken Bruen was a finalist for the Edgar, Barry, and Macavity Awards, and the Private Eye Writers of America presented him with the Shamus Award for the Best Novel of 2003 for The Guards, the book that introduced Jack Taylor. He lives in Galway, Ireland.


The Princess of Felony Flats

Bill Cameron

Synopsis – A scheming cop fools a jailed crime boss’s devious girlfriend into revealing the location of a load of chemicals for making drugs and also drops the hammer on her boyfriend’s activities.

Judges comments – An intriguing interplay of manipulative characters set against a backdrop of drugs. Original in tone, no fuss and satisfying.

Bill Cameron is the author of the critically-acclaimed mysteries County Line, Day One, Chasing Smoke and Lost Dog — featuring irascible ex-cop Skin Kadash — as well numerous short stories in such anthologies as First Thrills, Portland Noir, and the forthcoming Deadly Treats. His work has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as multiple award nominations, including the Spotted Owl and Left Coast Crime Rocky Awards. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is at work on his next mystery.


Ayo Onatade Chairperson, writes for a number of crime fiction websites including, Mystery Women and Crimespree Magazine.

Simon Brett is the author of over eighty books, many of which are crime novels, including the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter, Fethering and Blotto and Twinks series. He is also President of the Detection Club.

Adrian Magson is a freelance writer, crime author and reviewer, with more than 300 short stories published in magazines and anthologies in the UK and overseas.