Major criminal line up brought to book at Waterstones Harrogate

Pictured are Emma Lloyd, Harrogate International Festivals marketing manager and Keiran Lancaster, Waterstones Harrogate book specialist

A major criminal line up is currently holed up in a bookseller’s ‘special branch’ in Harrogate.

National chain Waterstones is stocking 18 hot reads, each hoping to steal the title of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, which will be awarded to the winning author at a public hearing in Harrogate this summer.

Now in its 18th year, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is presented by Harrogate International Festivals and sponsored by Theakston’s of Masham, celebrating excellence, originality, and the very best in crime fiction from UK and Irish authors.

The winner of the most wanted accolade in crime fiction receives a cheque for £3000, and an engraved oak beer cask, hand-carved by one of Britain’s last coopers from Theakston’s Brewery.

Books longlisted this year include: Girl A, the gruelling bestseller from debut novelist Abigail Dean; historical mysteries set in Georgian London’s dark underbelly, a haunted ship in the 1600s, and the turbulent streets of 1950s Bombay; the latest in Mick Herron’s Slough House series, which have been adapted for Apple TV’s Slow Horses; and The Heron’s Cry, the second installment in Ann Cleeves’ new Two Rivers series.

The winner will be announced at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on Thursday 21 July in the spa town synonymous with the disappearance of Miss Marple and Poirot creator Agatha Christie. Previous winners of the prestigious title include Lee Child, Val McDermid, Denise Mina and Mark Billingham.

But it’s not just the expert industry panel who get to play jury. The public are invited to vote for their favourite novel at at the longlist stage by Thursday 26 May, with the shortlist of six authors announced on Tuesday, June 14, when voting opens again to pick the winner.

Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals Chief Executive, said: “Waterstones plays a major part in this annual Festival of crime writing, and as ever we are grateful to them for alerting the public to the whereabouts of these 18 most-wanted titles.

“The bookshop is a terrific supporter of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, with a creative partnership of digital and in-store campaigns.

“The 18 books, all available at national Waterstones, have been selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd.

“In a few weeks, the shortlist will be announced along with the second round of public voting. We’re excited to crown the eventual winner at the awards ceremony, where an icon of the crime genre will also be honoured with the Outstanding Contribution accolade.”

Keiran Lancaster, Waterstones Harrogate book specialist, said: “The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is an important diary date for us, and one we look forward to – from the announcement of the long list to the winner being announced at the four-day Festival.

“It’s great to be able to support the authors, some very well-known and others just starting off in their crime writing careers. And this year, at least two of those on the longlist have worked for Waterstones.”

Voting at the longlist stage closes at 11.59pm on Thursday 26 May. Further details about this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award are available at

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