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Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023 Longlist Announced

27 April 2023

The longlist for UK and Ireland's most prestigious prize for crime fiction, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year has been announced. The award is for the best crime novel published in paperback in the previous year and is voted for by an academy and the public and presented each year at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. More information about Ulverscroft's longlisted titles are below.

The Murder Book by Mark Billingham
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in July 2022.
Tom Thorne has it all. In Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks, Thorne has good friends by his side. He finally has a love life worth a damn and is happy in the job to which he has devoted his life...Tom Thorne has it all...to lose. Hunting the woman responsible for a series of grisly murders, Thorne has no way of knowing that he will be plunged into a nightmare from which he may never wake. A nightmare that has a name. Finally, Thorne's past has caught up with him and a ruinous secret is about to be revealed. If he wants to save himself and his friends, he must do the unthinkable.

The Botanist by MW Craven
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in July 2022.
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he'd still have his thumb left. There's the insanely brilliant civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw, his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn, and his nearest neighbour, Victoria. And then there's Estelle Doyle. Her father's murder appears to be an open and shut case, but Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands and the only footprints going into the house are hers. Since her arrest she's only said three words: 'Tell Washington Poe.' Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity . . .

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in March 2022.
Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children's book, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. He took it to his English teacher, Miss Isles, who became convinced it was the key to solving a secret code that ran through all Edith Twyford's novels. Then Miss Isles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven's memory won't allow him to remember what happened. Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn't just a writer of forgotten children's stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn't the only one trying to solve it...

Bad Actors by Mick Herron
Published in Large Print in October 2022 and CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in June 2022.
In MI5 a scandal is brewing and there are bad actors everywhere.

A key member of a Downing Street think-tank has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, one-time First Desk of MI5's Regent's Park, is tasked with tracking her down. But the trail leads straight back to Regent's Park HQ itself, with its chief, Diana Taverner, as prime suspect. Meanwhile her Russian counterpart has unexpectedly shown up in London but has slipped under MI5's radar.

Over at Slough House, the home for demoted and embittered spies, the slow horses are doing what they do best: adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation.

In a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing is the norm, bad actors are bending the rules for their own gain. If the slow horses want to change the script, they'll need to get their own act together before the final curtain.

The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
Published in Large Print in February 2023.
One June morning, on the bank of the River Thames, a black bin bag full of bones is discovered by mud-larkers. DI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene and quickly sends the bag for forensic examination. The skeletal remains are those of a young woman, killed by a blow to the head many years ago.

Also inside the bag is dead summer blossom from the Persian silk tree - a rarity in London. It leads DI Owusu back to a mansion in Chelsea where, many years ago, three people lay dead in a kitchen, and a baby waited upstairs for someone to pick her up. The clues point forward, too - to a brother and sister in Chicago, searching for the only person who can make sense of their pasts.

Four deaths. An unsolved mystery. A family whose secrets can't stay buried for ever...

Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone
Published in Large PrintCD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in October 2022.
The Skelf women live in the face of death every day, running a funeral directors and private investigators in Edinburgh, and their own grief intertwines with that of their clients as they reel from shocking past events.

A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman's obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he's being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave...pushing her to breaking point.

As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly...

The Lost Man Of Bombay by Vaseem Khan
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in September 2022.
Bombay, 1950. When the body of a white man is found frozen in the Himalayan foothills near Dehra Dun, he is christened the Ice Man by the national media. Who is he? How long has he been there? Why was he killed? As Inspector Persis Wadia and Metropolitan Police criminalist Archie Blackfinch investigate the case in Bombay, they uncover a trail left behind by the enigmatic Ice Man - a trail leading directly into the dark heart of conspiracy. Meanwhile, two new murders grip the city. Is there a serial killer on the loose, targeting Europeans?

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in October 2022.
On New Year's Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.

His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he's generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.

But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year's Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.

The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family - and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn't who wanted Rhys dead...but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook in September 2022.
It's every parent's nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.

You don't know who.
You don't know why.
You only know your teenage boy is in custody - and his future lost.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don't have a choice but to find them...

1989 by Val McDermid
Published in Large Print in September 2022.
It's 1989, and Allie Burns is back. Older and maybe wiser, she's running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media.

And there's plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction.

The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there's skulduggery in the medical research labs, and there are seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When kidnap and murder are added to this potent mix, Allie is forced to question all her old certainties.

Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in December 2022.
This is the secret report of disgraced former Foreign Office clerk Laurence Jago, written on the mail ship Tankerville en route to Philadelphia. His mission is to aid the civil servant charged with carrying a vital treaty to Congress that will prevent the Americans from joining with the French in their war against Britain. When the civil servant meets an unfortunate end, Laurence becomes the one person standing between Britain and disaster. It is his great chance to redeem himself - except that his predecessor has taken the secret of the treaty's hiding place to his watery grave. As the ship is searched, Laurence quickly discovers that his fellow passengers all have their own motives to find the treaty for themselves. And as a second death follows the first, Laurence must turn sleuth in order to find the killer before he has an 'accident' of his own.

Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass
Published in Large Print in November 2022 and CD and MP3 CD audiobook in October 2022.
April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford. Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. During their first term, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends: Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily. By the end of their second term, April was dead. Now, a decade later, the man convicted of killing April - former Oxford porter John Neville - has died in prison. Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and she's relieved to have finally put the past behind her. But her world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April's death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide...including a murder.

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