The Crime Writers’ Association

Diamond Dagger 2003


Robert Barnard

The Crime Writers’ Association is sad to report the death, on Thursday 19 September 2013, of Robert Barnard.

Bob was the winner of the 2003 Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, presented for a lifetime of achievement in crime writing, a career that had then lasted nearly 30 years, in which he had written over 40 books and won several awards on both sides of the Atlantic.

The award is sponsored by Cartier and the dagger was presented jointly by the CWA chair, Lindsey Davis and Monsieur Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier. The ceremony took place at a reception in the Court Restaurant at the British Museum in the evening of Wednesday 7 May.

Robert Barnard lived in Leeds, was born in Essex and educated at Balliol. He had a distinguished career as an academic before he became a full-time writer. His first crime novel, Death of an Old Goat, was written while he was professor of English at the University of Tromso in Norway, the world’s most northerly university.

He was a writer of great versatility, from the light and satirical tone of his earlier books to the more psychological preoccupations of recent ones, such as A Fatal Attachment. Under the name of Bernard Bastable he also wrote novels featuring Mozart as a detective, and was the author of many short stories, including Sins of Scarlet, which won the 2006 CWA Short Story Award. He has created several detectives, including Perry Trethowan and Charlie Peace.

Robert Barnard said he writes only to entertain. He regarded Agatha Christie as his ideal crime writer and published an appreciation of her work, A Talent to Deceive.

The Award was set up in 1986 when the first winner was Eric Ambler.Subsequent recipients have been P.D. James, John le Carré, Dick Francis, Julian Symons, Ruth Rendell, Leslie Charteris, Ellis Peters, Michael Gilbert, Reginald Hill, H.R.F. Keating, Colin Dexter, Ed McBain, Margaret Yorke and Peter Lovesey. The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for 2002 went to Sara Paretsky.

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