The Crime Writers' Association

Diamond 2001

Lionel Davidson

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Lionel Davidson, who won the CWA’s DIamond Dagger in 2001, has the distinction of being the only person to have won three CWA Gold Daggers.

His first novel, The Night of Wenceslas won the Gold Dagger in 1960. Its taut prose and masterful plot made it an instant, massive success, and immediately pushed Davidson into the front ranks of the genre. The book was subsequently filmed in 1964 as Hot Enough for June, with Dirk Bogarde in the starring role.

His second novel The Rose of Tibet (1962) was equally well-received. A Long Way to Shiloh (1966) won Davidson his second Gold Dagger, and he achieved a third with The Chelsea Murders (1978), which was also adapted for television as part of Thames TV’s Armchair Thriller series in 1981.

Lionel Davidson died on 21 October 2009 in north London after suffering a long illness. His sons have set up a website in his memory, see

As the name suggests, the CWA/Cartier Diamond Dagger is sponsored by Cartier, who have done so since its inception in 1986. Winners have two essential criteria: first, their careers must be marked by sustained excellence, and second, they must have made a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language, whether originally or in translation.