Finalists for inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel announced

Saturday 14 August 2010, 6:46PM
By Craig Sisterson

THE THREE finalists for the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, which will be presented at a ceremony at the upcoming The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival in September, have now been confirmed. The award is made for the best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, published in New Zealand during 2009.

A panel of seven local and international judges has been considering the best of locally written crime and thriller fiction published last year.

The three finalists are:

• CUT & RUN by Alix Bosco (Penguin);
• BURIAL by Neil Cross (Simon & Schuster); and
• CONTAINMENT by Vanda Symon (Penguin)

The winner of the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel will be announced at a ceremony at the conclusion of the “Setting the Stage for Murder” event at the Festival on the evening of Friday 10 September 2010.

The international judges said CUT & RUN was “complex and suspenseful” and had “scenes and incidents which are jaw-droppingly good”, that BURIAL “maintained the tension and the atmosphere from beginning to end, keeping the atmosphere creepy”, and that CONTAINMENT had “an attractive series heroine (feisty but vulnerable)” while starting with a “superb” opening scene that by itself would make the judge “want to read more Vanda Symon”.

“There were a number of high-quality crime novels published last year, and it has been a tough decision for the judges,” said Judging Convenor Craig Sisterson. “It is fantastic to see crime writing of this quality being produced by New Zealand writers, and great that the Award recognises both the best of our current authors, while also honouring the memory of one of our country’s true literary legends, who we have perhaps underappreciated in the past.”

The Awards namesake, Dame Ngaio Marsh, is renowned worldwide as one of the four “Queens of Crime” of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, having published 32 novels featuring Inspector Roderick Alleyn between 1934 and her death in 1982. With sales in the millions, and her books still in print to this day, Dame Ngaio is possibly New Zealand’s bestselling author, ever.

For more information, please contact:
Craig Sisterson, Judging Convenor: or (021) 184 1206