Elly Griffiths, Gillian McAllister and Fiona Cummins are among the six authors shortlisted for the £3,000 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023 prize, produced by Harrogate International Festivals.
This year’s shortlist was selected with help from a public vote from a longlist of 20 novels, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The list features newcomers and previous prize contenders alike but none of this year’s shortlisted novelists have ever taken home the coveted award before.
Challengers for the trophy include Griffiths, former Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival programming chair in 2017. Griffiths is in the running for a sixth time for The Locked Room (Quercus), the penultimate mystery in the series featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway.
Two novelists have made the shortlist for the first time: McAllister with her Sunday Times Thriller of the Year, Wrong Place Wrong Time (Penguin Michael Joseph) and Cummins, who was selected by Val McDermid for New Blood in 2017, shortlisted for Into The Dark (Macmillan).
M W Craven is on the list with The Botanist (Constable) alongside Doug Johnstone, shortlisted for Black Hearts (Orenda Books) and Ruth Ware for The It Girl (Simon & Schuster).
Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, featuring six gripping reads that celebrate the best of the crime genre.
“With an array of subgenres spanning gripping thrillers to murder mysteries, the public have a tricky task ahead choosing only one from this talented bunch – we can’t wait to unmask the winner at the 20th anniversary of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on 20th July!”
Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, added: “What an exceptional line-up of crime writers in this year’s shortlist! We raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to all of the shortlistees and look forward to awarding the coveted beer cask trophy during the opening night ceremony!”
The public is now invited to vote for a winner, with voting closing on Thursday 13th July. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, receiving the prize and a hand-made, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston.