DENISE MINA has become the first woman to win The McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year.
The Glasgow author’s book The Long Drop, published by Harvill Secker, was hailed by judges and chosen as the top pick.
The award was announced on screen by judge Susan Calman, unable to attend the prize ceremony at Stirling Castle as she is currently starring in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Chris Brookmyre, winner of the McIlvanney Prize last year, handed over an engraved decanter and a cheque for £1000.
The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing and includes nationwide promotion in Waterstones.
It is presented annually at the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival in Stirling, which continues today and tomorrow.
Lee Randall, chair of the judges, said: “The Long Drop by Denise Mina transports us back to dark, grimy Glasgow, telling the social history of a particular strata of society via the grubby, smokey pubs favoured by crooks and chancers. She takes us into the courtroom, as well, where Manuel acted as his own lawyer, and where hoards of women flocked daily, to watch the drama play out.
“Full of astute psychological observations, this novel’s not only about what happened in the 1950s, but about storytelling itself. It shows how legends grow wings, and how memories shape-shift and mark us.
“For my money this is one of the books of 2017 — in any genre.”
Following the ceremony the 400 guests formed a torchlight procession (shielded by Bloody Scotland branded umbrellas) through the streets of Stirling led by Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Mina.
Only came out for milk pic.twitter.com/guFxN7R5Xk
— Denise Mina (@DameDeniseMina) September 8, 2017
She will be celebrating her 20th Anniversary as a crime writer next year. Her first novel, Garnethill, won the CWA Dagger for best first crime novel in 1998 and she has subsequently won Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year twice – in 2012 and 2013.
Her novel The Field of Blood was adapted into a BBC TV drama, starring Ford Kiernan, Peter Capaldi, Jayd Johnson and David Morrissey.
The Long Drop is an extraordinarily unsettling literary suspense novel based on the notorious case of Scotland’s first convicted serial killer, Peter Manuel.
Previous winners of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award are Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow (2016), Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona (2015), Peter May with Entry Island (2014), Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye (2013) and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country (2012). The 2017 winner was kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.
The judges included comedian and crime fan Susan Calman, journalist Craig Sisterson and Programmer of Granite Noir, Lee Randall, The other finalists included Val McDermid (Little, Brown); a former winner of the prize, Craig Russell (Quercus); one of the founders of Bloody Scotland, Craig Robertson (Simon & Schuster) and a relative unknown, Jay Stringer (Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing).