Women dominate the longlist for one of the UK’s top crime-writing prizes, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year.
They make up 10 of the 18 nominees for the 16th year of the award, presented by Harrogate International Festivals.
The so-called ‘queen of crime’, Val McDermid, makes the list with her latest Tony Hill and Carol Jordan investigation, How The Dead Speak.
Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves returns with The Long Call, marking the launch of a new North Devon series.
Lee Child also appears with his final solo Jack Reacher novel, Blue Moon, before he begins collaborating with his brother Andrew on the series.
Scottish writers Denise Mina and Chris Brookmyre feature with their respective books Conviction and Fallen Angel, while Abir Mukherjee’s Smoke And Ashes, set in Raj era India, also makes the longlist.
This year’s winner will be honoured at a virtual awards ceremony on July 31, after the annual Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The chosen author will receive £3,000 and an engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons.
Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, said: “Year on year, I’m astounded and delighted by how this exceptional genre continues to excel – we were deluged with record submissions and these 18 impressive titles demonstrate the quality and power of contemporary crime fiction.
“From the familiar faces to the new voices, we are immensely proud of this year’s longlist and raise a virtual glass of Old Peculier to all the authors, and what will be another fierce contest for this much-wanted award.”
The public can vote for a shortlist of six titles online, which will be announced on June 8.
More details at harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com.