• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ

Two dames vie for NZ crime novel awards – only one can prepare a speech

The 2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards shortlist is revealed

Left, Dame Fiona Kidman. Photo/Robert Cross/Supplied. Right, Ngaio Marsh c1935. Photo/Henry Herbert Clifford/Supplied.

Ngaio Marsh has made the cut for the shortlist of the award which bears her name.

To the possible relief of the organisers of the awards that bear her name, the late Dame Ngaio Marsh has made the shortlist of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards, the annual prize for New Zealand crime writing.

Money in the Morgue, an unfinished Inspector Alleyn mystery set during World War II, which was completed by Stella Duffy, is among five nominated for best novel. Marsh died in 1982.

Also among the contenders is Dame Fiona Kidman’s This Mortal Boy, which earlier this year won the top fiction prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.  The novel is based on the 1955 murder case of “jukebox killer”, Albert “Paddy” Black, who was the second-to-last man to be hanged in New Zealand.

Kidman’s fellow nominee Liam McIlvanney has already won the McIlvanney prize – the Scottish crime writing award which bears the name of his crime-writing father William McIlvanney – for his Glasgow-set novel The Quaker. McIlvanney is a professor of Scottish studies at the University of Otago.

There’s a historic bent to all but one of the books in the category, the exception being Call Me Evie, the acclaimed debut by JP Pomare which is set mostly in contemporary Maketū.  Rotorua-raised and Melbourne-based Pomare, whose book has been picked up by major publishers for release in North America and Britain, also features in the best first novel category.

The finalists in the 2019 Ngaio Marsh awards.

The finalists  

Best novel

This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Penguin)

Money In The Morgue by Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy (Harpercollins)

The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney (Harpercollins)

Call Me Evie by JP Pomare (Hachette)

The Vanishing Act by Jen Shieff (Mary Egan Publishing)

Best First Novel

One For Another by Andrea Jacka (Red River Pony Publishing)

Crystal Reign by Kelly Lyndon (Remnant Press)

Call Me Evie by JP Pomare (Hachette)

Best Non-Fiction

The Great New Zealand Robbery by Scott Bainbridge (Allen & Unwin)

The Short Life And Mysterious Death Of Jane Furlong by Kelly Dennett (Awa)

Behind Bars by Anna Leask (Penguin)

The Cause Of Death by Cynric Temple-Camp (HarperCollins)

The winners will be announced during the WORD Christchurch Spring Event on September 14.

The awards were founded in 2010 and are convened by Craig Sisterson whose reviews of crime fiction appear in The Listener.