The 2023 shortlists for the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime-writing genre, have been announced.

2023 marks the CWA’s 70th Platinum Jubilee Year; the Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre, created in 1955.

The Gold Dagger, which recognises the crime novel of the year, sees Vaseem Khan’s The Lost Man of Bombay make the shortlist. It’s the third novel in his historical crime series set in 1950s India. The first in the series, Midnight at Malabar House, received the CWA Historical Dagger in 2021.

Khan is pitted against WC Ryan’s gothic mystery The Winter Guest. A LoveReading Star Book, this is a beautifully clever and compelling historical crime novel imbedded among the Irish struggle for independence.

Also up for Gold is Anna Mazzola’s The Clockwork Girl, another book awarded a Star by LoveReading: balancing a razor-sharp wire between greed and privilege, liberty and opportunity, this is a breathtaking, chilling, and vividly evocative historical tale. 

Sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the Fleming family-owned company that looks after the James Bond literary brand, the Steel Dagger celebrates the thriller of the year.

Big hitters on the shortlist include Robert Galbraith with The Ink Black Heart and Linwood Barclay’s Take Your Breath Away which was a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month: second chances are threatened in this edgy and entertaining thriller as it corkscrews through lives six years after a woman disappears. 

Last year’s winner, MW Craven, returns with The Botanist, his fifth novel in the hugely popular Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw series and another LoveReading Star Book: an addictively perfect example of a locked room mystery (or two) awaits in this latest addition to one of the best crime series around.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “As always with the Daggers, the titles on the shortlists showcase the very best in the genre from leading publishing houses to the smaller independents, including fiction in translation, the short story, debut, and unpublished authors to watch. We are proud to say that no other awards truly showcase the depth and breadth of talent in this enduring genre.”

Here you can watch Maxim chat with our very own Liz Robinson about the shortlist

The CWA welcome new sponsor, International Literary Properties (ILP), for the ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. ILP own, invest in and proactively manage the estate of the late John Creasey, who founded the CWA and whose name is associated with the award for best debut novel.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger, sponsored in honour of Dolores Jakubowski, sees The Bleeding by French novelist Johana Gustawsson (translated by David Warriner) pitted against the great Spanish writer, Javier Cercas, and his international bestseller, Even The Darkest Night (translated by Anne McLean). 

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year sees firm favourites from the genre: Ben Aaronovitch, Sophie Hannah and, for the first time on this list, Mick Herron, famed for the hit Jackson Lamb novels.

The Dagger for the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, features Harper Fiction, Mantle, Michael Joseph, Pushkin Vertigo, Quercus and Viper.

The Daggers also celebrate unpublished authors with its annual competition for aspiring crime novelists, the Debut Dagger, sponsored by ProWritingAid. The competition to find the best new voices in the genre has been finding the next big names in crime fiction for over 20 years. The winner will receive £500 as well as the attention of leading agents and top editors; over two dozen past winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger authors have been signed to date.

The CWA Diamond Dagger, awarded to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, is announced in early spring each year and in 2023 it was awarded to Walter Mosley.

The winners will be announced at the Daggers awards night on Thursday 6th July at the Leonardo City hotel in London, with guest speaker, author Charlie Higson.

The Shortlists in Full:


The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green 

The Lost Man of Bombay by Vaseem Khan 

A Killing in November by Simon Mason 

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola 

The Winter Guest by WC Ryan 

The Silent Brother by Simon Van der Velde 


Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay 

Seventeen by John Brownlow           

The Botanist by MW Craven 

The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith    

Alias Emma by Ava Glass 

May God Forgive by Alan Parks         


Breaking by Amanda Cassidy          

The Local by Joey Hartstone 

London in Black by Jack Lutz 

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor 

No Country for Girls by Emma Styles         

Outback by Patricia Wolf 


The Darkest Sin by DV Bishop 

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola         

The Homes by JB Mylet 

The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra 

Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass 

Hear No Evil by Sarah Smith 


Good Reasons to Die by Morgan Audic translated by Sam Taylor 

The Red Notebook by Michel Bussi translated by Vineet Lal

Even the Darkest Night by Javier Cercas translated by Anne McLean

Bad Kids by Zijin Chen translated by Michelle Deeter 

The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson translated by David Warriner 

The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier translated by Adriana Hunter 


Leigh Bardugo, ‘The Disappearance’ in Marple 

Victoria Dowd & Delilah Dowd, ‘The Tears of Venus’ in Unlocked  

Sanjida Kay, ‘The Beautiful Game’ in The Perfect Crime edited by Vaseem Khan and Maxim Jakubowski 

Abir Mukherjee, ‘Paradise Lost’ in The Perfect Crime edited by Vaseem Khan and Maxim Jakubowski 

CJ Tudor, ‘Runaway Blues’ in A Sliver of Darkness 

Hazell Ward, ‘Cast A Long Shadow’ in Cast A Long Shadow edited by Katherine Stansfield and Caroline Oakley 


The Poisonous Solicitor by Stephen Bates 

The Life of Crime by Martin Edwards

Unlawful Killings: Life, Love and Murder: Trials at the Old Bailey by Wendy Joseph 

Tremors In The Blood: Murder, Obsession and the Birth of the Lie Detector by Amit Katwala 

To Hunt a Killer by Julie Mackay and Robert Murphy 

About A Son by David Whitehouse 


Ben Aaronovitch

Sophie Hannah

Mick Herron 


Harper Fiction (HarperCollins)

Mantle (PanMacmillan)

Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House)

Pushkin Vertigo (Pushkin Press)

Quercus (Hachette)

Viper (Profile Books)

DEBUT DAGGER Sponsored by ProWritingAid

Bulldog Murphy by Chris Corbett

Male, Unknown by Chris Griffiths

Sideways by Jeff Marsick

Heist by James Pierson

The Line of Least Resistance by Jeff Richards

Cradle of Storms by Margaret Winslow