Osman, Rankin and Wood snare CrimeFest awards

Osman, Rankin and Wood snare CrimeFest awards

Richard Osman, Ian Rankin and Trevor Wood have won prizes at the 14th CrimeFest awards, honouring the best UK books in the crime writing genre.

Wood, who served in the Royal Navy for 16 years, picked up the £1,000 Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award for The Man on the Street (Quercus). The book is set in his home city Newcastle, featuring a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, and has been dubbed by Lee Child as “an instant classic”.

Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, said: “Many congratulations to Trevor, who really captured the city of Newcastle wonderfully in his book. Let’s hope there’s more to come from this up-and-coming author.”

The £1,000 Audible Sounds of Crime Award, voted for by Audible subscribers, went to Richard Osman and actress Lesley Manville, who narrated the audio edition of The Thursday Murder Club (Viking).

Rankin took the eDunnit Award with A Song for the Dark Times (Orion), beating fellow shortlisted giants of the genre Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke.

In the H R F Keating Award for the best biographical or critical book, Martin Edwards, editor of Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club (HarperCollins), emerged triumphant.

The Last Laugh Award was presented to Carl Hiaasen for Squeeze Me (Sphere), a novel that captures the Trump era with Hiaasen's “inimitable savage humour and eccentric characters”.

In the Best Crime Novel for Children aged 8–12 category, Serena Patel's Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne) took the top spot. Best Crime Novel for Young Adults aged 12–16 went to the multi-award-winning author Patrice Lawrence for Eight Pieces of Silva (Hodder), an "addictive" tale of a teenager’s hunt for her missing sister.

Adrian Muller, co-host of CrimeFest, said: “A huge congratulations to all CrimeFest award winners this year. We had to cancel the last two physical conventions due to the pandemic, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to continue CrimeFest's annual awards, albeit virtually. We are thankful to both Specsavers and to Audible for their ongoing support.”

In light of the pandemic, the 2021 winners were announced online in an awards ceremony, hosted by “Agatha Raisin” co-star Matt McCooey. CrimeFest had to postpone its 2020 and 2021 conventions, due to Covid-19 restrictions. Hosted in Bristol, it is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, with around 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days. Tentative dates for next year's Bristol CrimeFest are 12th–15th May.