2024 Diamond Dagger Awards

The Dagger Awards, presented by the UK's Crime Writers' Association, recognize excellence in crime and mystery writing in a wide range of categories, from first novels to translations.  The association's highest honor, however, is the Diamond Dagger, which is given to a writer "whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre."  This year, we have two winners: Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke.

Lynda La Plante, courtesy Simon & Schuster

Lynda La Plante, CBE

Originally trained as a stage actress, Lynda La Plante later shifted to a career in television, first on screen and then behind the camera as a writer and producer.  Her scripts for mystery series like Widows and Prime Suspect have won multiple awards, which makes it unsurprising that when she turned her hand to writing novels, they were met with equal enthusiasm.  She has published dozens of books, many of which have become international bestsellers.  She is a member of the Crime Thriller Writers’ Hall of Fame and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list in 2008.


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James Lee Burke; photo by James McDavid, courtesy Simon & Schuster

James Lee Burke

Burke's first novel, Half of Paradise, received much acclaim, even being compared (favorably) to Hemingway and Sartre.  But, like many authors, this early success did not pave the way for an easy career in writing.  His third novel, The Lost Get-Back Boogie, was rejected more than 100 times before it found a publisher willing to take it on.  The book was later nominated for a Pulitzer.  Burke's best known works are likely the books of his Dave Robicheaux series, of which there are now more than 20 (with a new one due out in June of this year!).  Two books in the series have been made into major motion pictures.  Burke's accolades include multiple Edgar Awards and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.


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