Mick Herron wins mystery novel of the year award for Slough House | Polar

Mick Herron has won the Theakston Old Peculier Prize for Mystery Novel of the Year, after his fifth nomination in six years.

Herron won the award for Slough House, the seventh installment in his series of the same name, which follows a band of failed spies. In the book, a new populist movement takes hold on the streets of London and the spies find themselves on the run following a Russian intelligence blunder that leaves a British citizen dead.

The series was recently made into an Apple TV+ show starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Herron received £3,000, plus an engraved beer barrel provided by sponsors.

The prize was presented at the opening ceremony of the Theakston Old Peculier detective writing festival. Herron was chosen as the winner by a panel including Simon Theakston, executive director of Theakston, television presenter Steph McGovern, journalists Matt Nixon and Joe Haddow, representative of Waterstones and Sharon Canavar, general manager of Harrogate’s international festivals.

The public also voted for their favorite book from the shortlist, with a record 11,313 readers voting. The public vote contributed to the panel’s decision.

Theakston said Slough House “manages to combine intrigue, peril and humor in a deft exploration of international espionage”.

Joseph Knox’s True Crime Story was highly praised by the judges. The book mixes fact and fiction to tell the story of a student who leaves a party in her college dorm in Manchester and is never seen again. Knox was selected by Val McDermid as a panelist for New Blood in 2017 and was shortlisted for the award in 2018 for his thriller Sirens.

Other shortlisted books were The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths, Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan, and The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean.

The ceremony also saw Michael Connelly receive the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction award in recognition of his three-decade writing career. He follows in the footsteps of past winners Ian Rankin, Lynda La Plante, Lee Child, Val McDermid and PD James.

Canavar called Connelly’s career remarkable and said his “detective novels have kept readers spellbound for 30 years”.

Irene B. Bowles