Photo Diary

Death Ship of Dartmouth

Death Ship of Dartmouth, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

Yup – this is the week. I’m off to Harrogate on Thursday to visit the opening of the Harrogate Crime Festival, and learn who has won the Theakston’s Prize for the best crime novel of 2006. A very strange feeling. Have to admit, I cannot believe I could win this. The prize tends to be won by those who write unremittingly modern books, and ideally the sort in which there is gore spattered all over the place from page one – the kind in which you almost expect to hear an agent of the Devil appear, sniggering nastily, on a tide of ectoplasm on about page 400, and only the spiffing skills of the psychic detective . . . oh, hang on. No, think I’ve wandered a bit here.
Anyway, it’s amazing to think that I’ve been put up for this prize, and still more incredible that readers have voted for me to get to the short list.
It’s actually a bit more astonishing to me that it may appear. The thing is, this is my 21st novel, the 21st in the series. As it came out, I was chortling to myself over finally having come of age as a writer, and then what happens? It gets put up for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Book of the Year. When I heard, my immediate thought was, that I’d partaken a little too liberally of the whisky. I have a feeling I may do something similar on Thursday night, no matter who wins.
Because the great thing is, I feel chuffed enough just to have been shortlisted. I’ve said this before, but I don’t know how many will believe it: the Theakston’s prize is one of the most prestigious for me. It’s not so big as, say, the CWA Gold Dagger, neither in cash terms nor in press acceptance – but it’s the only prize which is picked by the folk that matter – the readers. All the other prizes are chosen by the folks who criticise books, by reviewers and other members of the ‘Great and the Good’. Nothing wrong with that (I’m judging the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the third year myself!) but for my money, it’s better to win a prize which is picked by readers.
At the end of the day, they’re the only ones who count.

So, to all those who voted for me – many thanks! To all those who didn’t, there’s still time! For now though, just keep your fingers crossed that for just this once a medieval story by the marvellous chap Jecks may win something!

All best


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