Great dames turn out for crime awards

Liz Thomson
News - Books 09 Oct 2008

The inaugural ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards were launched in some style earlier this month, with Baroness Rendell of Babergh and Baroness James of Holland Park better known to readers as Ruth Rendell (pictured left with Hutchinson Publisher Paul Sidey) and P'D James and Dame Helen Mirren among the audience at London's Grosvenor House Hotel. James was one of three writers inducted in to the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame, along with Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Looking physically a little frail but mentally as sharp as ever ( as fluffy as a Rottweiler was how MC Alan Davies described her) , James paid tribute to her peers in the genre who had created such mayhem and said that accepting the honour was the greatest privilege'. Robert Harris, Lynda la Plante, Martina Cole, Jeffery Deaver and Val McDermid led a standing ovation. Ian Rankin's final Rebus novel, Exit Music (Orion), won him the award for Author of the Year, seeing off competition from Peter James, Robert Harris and Lee Child. Stuart MacBride took Breakthrough Author of the Year with Broken Skin, beating Chelsea Cain, Michael Robotham and Anne Zouroudi an award that opened the sleuth gates as one wag put it. There was enthusiastic applause for Colin Dexter, who accepted the ITV3 Award for Classic TV Drama from Dame Helen and paid fulsome tribute to his long-time editor at Macmillan, Maria Rejt.

But the evening's most moving moment came when Erland Larsson took the stage to speak movingly of his son, the late Stieg Larsson, named International Author of the Year for his debut Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (MacLehose Press). People ask am I proud... I have many reasons to be proud of my son, he said, speaking of Stieg's career as a journalist and political activist who lived with death threats and died of a heart attack in 2004, leaving three complete but unpublished manuscripts, all now published to international acclaim in his native Sweden.

The evening paid tribute not just to crime writers but also to those who'd brought their work to life on screen Hermione Norris and Rupert Penry-Jones won Best Actress and Best Actor respectively for Spooks, while Criminal Justice was named TV Crime Drama of the Year and the final season of The Wire International Crime Drama of the Year, with The Bourne Ultimatum taking Film of the Year.

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