For immediate release

May 29, 2024

Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) is pleased to announce the Winners of the 2024 Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing. Since 1984, Crime Writers of Canada has recognized the best in mystery, crime, suspense fiction, and crime nonfiction by Canadian authors, including citizens abroad and new residents.

On behalf of CWC, Hyacinthe Miller, Board Chair, congratulates all the Winners.


The Peter Robinson Award for Best Crime Novel sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize

Loreth Anne White, The Maid's Diary, Montlake

Loreth Anne White is an accomplished writer and The Maid’s Diary deserves this year’s Award of Excellence for a deceptively simple story that is, in the end, anything but simple. It is a dark, fast-moving, unsettling thriller that builds suspense as it hurtles towards its unexpected ending.

The twists are all anchored in the story and even the outlandishly nasty characters are believable. There are multiple perspectives, with each character adding to the others’ narratives, often contradicting what has already been told.

Nothing is as it appears except for Vancouver – the finely honed setting of The Maid’s Diary. White shows her deep knowledge of police procedures with intriguing crime scene details.

A unanimous choice of the judges, The Maid’s Diary is beautifully written, gritty and guaranteed to keep the reader turning the pages late into the night.

Best Crime First Novel, sponsored by Melodie Campbell, with a $1000 prize

Amanda Peters, The Berry Pickers, Harper Perennial / HarperCollins

The Berry Pickers is a beautifully written, immersive book with a unique, propulsive structure. Its enduring resonance inspired us to think deeply about the issue of kidnapping and family separation. The three-dimensional characters are well-drawn, revealing flaws that inspire empathy, strong family bonds, and the search for the truth that ties this story together in a deeply satisfying way. And, the novel's sense of place and time added nuanced depth to the page. The Berry Pickers is a deeply poignant read that we'd recommend to anyone. It's a wonderful achievement in crime fiction, marking the marvellous debut of an exciting Canadian writer. Bravo!

The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada, sponsored by Charlotte Engel and Crime Writers of Canada, with a $500 prize

Joan Thomas, Wild Hope, Harper Perennial/HarperCollins

Wild Hope is a captivating contemporary crime novel set against the backdrop of a bucolic small town increasingly dependent on urban visitors. Joan Thomas skillfully weaves a tale of love, betrayal, and redemption, exploring the complexities of personal commitment amidst environmental concerns.

At the heart of the story are Jake Challis, a troubled artist grappling with the ghosts of his past, and Isla Coltrane, a talented chef navigating the challenges of running a farm-to-table restaurant. Their relationship is tested when Jake's childhood friend, Reg Bevaqua, a wealthy businessman with a dubious environmental record, reemerges in their lives.

As the narrative unfolds, Thomas delves into the intricacies of friendship, love, and moral responsibility. Through richly drawn characters and evocative prose, she explores the tensions between economic progress and environmental conservation, leaving readers questioning the true cost of success.

The brilliance of the narrative means that even though the reader understands what the outcome must be, both Isla and the reader maintain a 'Wild Hope' that all will end well.

The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery sponsored by Jane Doe, with a $500 prize

Nita Prose, The Mystery Guest, Viking

The judges for the Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery had fun reading the many worthwhile entries submitted, but all three judges were unanimous in selecting The Mystery Guest among their top picks. The protagonist is a clever departure from the usual sleuth. The description of Molly’s neurodivergence is excellent and insightful, and we are carried along with her as she faces her dilemmas and demons. Molly is someone you want to root for. Almost everything about this book is perfect - language, characters, and descriptions of the setting. As Molly tries to solve the mystery of a famous novelist’s murder, the author builds the puzzle with inventive skill. Just when we are sure we have the answer, the plot turns another corner and we’re off again. Along with Molly, we learn that nothing is as it seems at first glance. The judges described The Mystery Guest as “delightful” and “hands down my favourite.”

Best Crime Short Story

Marcelle Dubé, Reversion, Mystery Magazine

Crisp dialogue and a rough prairie setting nicely complement the well-executed plot in this little gem. The crime is high stakes, and the narrative evokes tension to the very (neat) end. Dubé is especially deft with character development (no mean feat within the confines of a short story): the complex psychological backstory of protagonist Luke adds depth to themes about unreconciled pasts, the regenerative power of love, and our complicated relationships with those we think we know best.

The Best French Language Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction)

André Marois, La sainte paix, Héliotrope

Set in rural Québec, La sainte paix asks the question – How far will an elderly woman go to maintain her peaceful existence on the Mastigouche river? We, the readers, are drawn into Jacqueline’s machinations as she goes to great lengths to protect her “holy peace” from the possibility of bothersome intruders. The main character is drawn with humour and a certain vulnerable tenderness, despite her moral failings. We understand what drives her and, while we sympathise with the well-meaning officers trying to get to the bottom of her crimes, by the end, we too are in cahoots with Jacqueline! La sainte paix is a real page-turner. The novel is well-structured; the dialogue is effective throughout, and the story has flow and a purposeful drive. This is focused storytelling at its best.

Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book, sponsored by Shaftesbury Films with a $500 prize (Fiction and Nonfiction)

Cherie Dimaline, Funeral Songs for Dying Girls, Tundra Books

In Funeral Songs For Dying Girls, Cherie Dimaline has crafted a complex novel peopled with characters who live and breathe on the page. Indigenous/white teen Winifred is a loner, dubbed Wednesday Addams and ostracized by her classmates because she lives above the small-town cemetery where her mother is buried, and the crematorium where her father works. After she unwittingly gives rise to rumours that the graveyard is haunted because of her habit of wandering the grounds at all hours, and after she befriends Phil, an actual ghost girl, Win realizes that she can play this to her father’s benefit. He is in danger of losing his job to outsourcing but the ghost tours might be enough to save them. Dimaline’s prose and language are exquisite, beautiful and yet somehow gritty, and the judges found Win’s voice to be authentic and true. This raw look at grief, self-evolution, and big life change fully embraces all the contradictions, the formative moments—those both poignant and humiliating--that make up the young adult experience, and these were all present in Dimaline’s skillful portrayal of her main character. A meticulously-crafted page-turner that includes themes of indigeneity, sexuality, first love, and identity, this novel is a bittersweet coming of age story with a paranormal twist.

The Brass Knuckles Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book sponsored by David Reid Simpson Law Firm (Hamilton), with a $300 prize

Michael Lista, The Human Scale, Véhicule Press

Hard to put down, Michael Lista’s The Human Scale is an intriguing compilation of ten crime reports of “murder, mischief and other selected mayhems”, each with the author’s own postscript which describes the development of the narrative as well as the ramifications of publication. The collection emphasises the author’s prowess in journalistic research resulting in engaging and believable stories.

Lista’s satisfaction in unveiling the truth is clear in his concise attention to detail which not only puts the reader at the scene of the crime, but elicits emotions of surprise, empathy, and horror. Further, his examination of how he became a true crime writer and his thoughts on writing about real life crimes were fascinating. A unanimous decision to win Crime Writers Canada Award of Excellence in the non-fiction category, this compelling collection of short stories is a must read for all true crime fans.

Best Unpublished Crime Novel manuscript written by an unpublished author

Craig H. Bowlsby, Requiem for a Lotus

CWC is grateful for the support of Our Award Sponsors

  • Toronto-based Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing e-Reading services, offering more than 5 million eBooks and magazines to millions of users around the world. It also offers a variety of e-Readers and top-ranking apps, enabling people to read more—on any device they choose.
  • Shaftesbury is an award-winning creator and producer of original content for television, film, and digital. Building on a library of award-winning children’s programs, Shaftesbury has an extensive slate of new child and family programming.
  • David Simpson, a lawyer in Hamilton and the Districts of Brant, Halton, Haldimand and Niagara, has a tradition of over fifty years of legal services. He sponsors “The Brass Knuckle” Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book in memory of true-crime author Robert Gordon Knuckle (1935-2019).
  • Melodie Campbell is the author of 17 books, 60 short stories, and is the recipient of ten awards, including the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence. She has taught fiction writing since 1992 and maintains a special interest in encouraging new writers.
  • Jane Doe chooses to remain anonymous.

About Crime Writers of Canada

Crime Writers of Canada was founded in 1982 as a professional organization designed to raise the profile of Canadian crime and mystery fiction and non-fiction writers. Our members include authors, publishers, editors, booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and literary agents as well as many developing writers. Past winners of the Awards have included well-recognized names in Canadian crime writing such as Mario Bolduc, Gail Bowen, Stevie Cameron, Howard Engel, Barbara Fradkin, Louise Penny, Peter Robinson and Eric Wright. We would like to thank our sponsors and volunteers, and the many participating publishers, authors and contest judges for their continued support.

Full details about the competition can be found on the Crime Writers of Canada’s website:

For more information about the Awards of Excellence, contact Ludvica Boota at

To enquire about becoming an Award sponsor, contact the CWC Chair, Hyacinthe Miller, at