Recent necrology, August/September 2015

Some well-known people who have died recently

  • Cover of My Brown Bear BarneyDorothy Butler, 1925-2015
    New Zealand children’s author, bookseller and reading advocate
  • George Cole, 1925-2015
    English actor best known as the devious and conniving Arthur Daley in the TV series Minder
  • Jackie Collins, 1936-2015
    Novelist who redefined the ‘blockbuster’ genre with her tales of bad behaviour in Hollywood
  • John Guillermin, 1925-2015
    Film director who specialised in all-star disaster melodramas and was a hard taskmaster on set
  • David Nobbs, 1935-2015
    British novelist and comedy writer
  • John Scott, 1956-2015
    English organist and choirmaster
  • Brian Sewell, 1931-2015
    Colourful critic who waged wittily acerbic war against the inanities of modern conceptual art
  • Cover of Favourite Carols From King'sDavid Willcocks, 1919-2015
    Choirmaster who redefined the sound of British choral music and once played the piano under heavy shell fire in Normandy
  • Phil Woods, 1931-2015
    Jazz saxophonist who, influenced by Charlie Parker, became a dedicated exponent of the complex bebop style

Paul Cleave wins the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award

Cover of Five Minutes AloneCongratulations to Paul Cleave who on Sunday 4 October was revealed as the winner of the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel for his book Five Minutes Alone.

Cleave beat a strong field of 4 other finalists – Barbara EwingPaddy RichardsonTina Shaw, and Paul Thomas – and is a fitting winner in many ways:

  • he is a Christchurch local; what could be more appropriate for a prize named after Christchurch’s own Queen of Crime?
  • his books have sold over a million copies worldwide and have been translated in several languages;
  • he is the first author to have won the gong twice. He first won in 2011 for his book Blood Men and has been shortlisted every year since;
  • he has the perfect name for a crime writer. Proof? Check out the title of the post on the Kiwi Crime Watch blog: “Contenders get Cleave-d in historic Ngaio Marsh victory“.

Yet, interestingly, Cleave was apparently surprised to win and has been reported as having said in his acceptance speech that New Zealanders hold Kiwi writers to a higher standard than they do international authors.

As a lily-livered reader of only the coziest of mysteries (Mma Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is my Goldilocks measure), I have not been brave enough to sample any of Cleave’s nine novels. Therefore I would really love to hear your opinions. Do you think that Kiwi crime writing, and Cleave’s specifically, is on a par with the best in the field internationally? What attracts you or puts you off reading New Zealand crime novels?

Previous winners of the Ngaio Marsh Award:

Cover of Cut and Run Cover of Blood Men Cover of Luther The Calling Cover of Death on Demand Cover of Where the Dead Men Go