By Graham Chalmers
This year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award has gone to Belinda Bauer for her book Rubbernecker.
The result was revealed at the recent hugely-successful Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Celebrating its tenth year, the festival was topped off with an exclusive appearance by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling, who was in conversation with Wire in the Blood writer Val McDermid.
TCWA 2010 Gold Dagger Award-winning author Bauer received glowing reviews from the festival judges for Rubbernecker, featuring Patrick Fort, a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Belinda was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
The annual Festival, hosted in Harrogate, is the world’s biggest celebration of the genre.
She beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 titles published by British and Irish authors over the last year.
Belinda said: “This is really unexpected; it feels like a very lucky accident to win this award when my fellow shortlisted authors seem so much smarter than me!.”
The 2014 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and Radio Times. Belinda collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade oak cask provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.
Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, said: “It was a very tough decision as it is every year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding but I’m delighted to hand the trophy to Belinda.”
A special presentation was also made to Lynda La Plante, the writer of the award-winning television drama including Widows, Prime Suspect and Above Suspicionhe winner of the fifth Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
La Plante’s new standalone novel, Twisted continues La Plante’s run of internationally acclaimed best sellers.
She joins Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the award.