Nicola Sturgeon's favourite wins top book award in Harrogate

Winning author Chris Brookmyre with title sponsor, Simon Theakston in Harrogate last night.
Winning author Chris Brookmyre with title sponsor, Simon Theakston in Harrogate last night.
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One of the favourite books of Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon has won this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in Harrogate.

Chris Brookmyre scooped the award for his gripping, plot-twisting novel Black Widow last night at the launch of this year's four-day-long festival at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate.

Celebrating its 13th year, the sward is considered one of the most coveted crime writing prizes in the country.

Chris Brookmyre said: “I’m really quite taken aback. I’ve been shortlisted three times before for this award, always the bridesmaid, today I get to walk up the aisle.

"A book is not just the work of the author behind it. I’d like to thank my editor, Ed Wood, for his calibre and daring that made a good book greater. I’m mainly just very proud.”

Brookmyre was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The annual Festival, hosted in Harrogate, is the world’s biggest celebration of the genre.

Black Widow is a story of cyber-abuse, where ‘even the twists have twists’. It features Brookmyre’s long-time character, reporter Jack Parlabane.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that she had been given the novel as an early Valentine’s Day present by her husband, declaring it ‘brilliant’.

Chris beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017.

The 2017 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.

Brookmyre collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.

A special presentation was made to Lee Child - the winner of the eighth Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

Lee Child joins Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.

Lee Child said: “It’s an honour - probably undeserved - to be placed in the same category as the previous recipients of this prize. In particular I would like to thank Simon Theakston for his generous and visionary support of the genre.”

Child has been dubbed a ‘billion-dollar brand’ for his blockbuster Jack Reacher series, adapted to film by Tom Cruise.

Title sponsorand executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to be honouring Lee Child. He is nothing short of a phenomenon. The Jack Reacher series tops bestseller lists worldwide, with a staggering 100 million books sold. Lee is very deserving of this accolade."

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