LYMM novelist Martin Edwards has joined the likes of Ruth Rendell, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, PD James and John Le Carré after being awarded the highest honour in British crime writing.

The 64-year-old has received the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) ‘Diamond Dagger’ which recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by ‘sustained excellence’ and who have made a ‘significant contribution to the genre’.

Martin is well known among readers for his Harry Devlin and the Lake District Mysteries series. He has since been working on his 1930s-set thrillers with his next book, Mortmain Hall, due out in April.

Martin said: “The Diamond Dagger is special because it’s conferred by my fellow authors and because the previous winners are so illustrious.

“To be part of the warm and welcoming community of crime writers for the past 30 years has been a joy.

“I fell in love with crime fiction when as a young boy I first discovered Agatha Christie.

“From then on, my only ambition was to write a detective novel that people might enjoy reading.

“But I never imagined receiving an accolade like this. I’m truly honoured.”

Martin has also enjoyed a separate career as a solicitor.

So by day he specialises in employment and equal opportunities law and by night he tries to figure out ways to get away with murder.

Martin is also a renowned editor, reviewer and columnist and can turn his hand to non-fiction such as his award-winning 2016 book, The Golden Age of Murder.

Ten years in the making, it was the first book about the Detection Club, the world’s most famous and most mysterious social network of crime writers.

Warrington Guardian:

Martin is currently the president of the Detection Club – a title once held by his literary hero Agatha Christie.

Linda Stratmann, chairman of the CWA, said: “Martin Edwards has been honoured not only as an award-winning author and editor, but also as a tireless promoter of crime writing.

“He researches and preserves the history of the genre, and has introduced the modern reader to classics of the past that might otherwise have been forgotten.”

Martin has enjoyed a decorated writing career since his first novel, All the Lonely People, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger in 1991.

Highlights have included winning the CWA Dagger in the Library, awarded by British librarians, the CWA Short Story Dagger, the H.R.F. Keating Award and the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham Prize.

His novels have also been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Prize and the Lakeland Book Award.

Martin’s novels are also a hit in the US where he has received the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award, an Agatha Award, and two Macavity awards from Mystery Readers International.

While in 2017 he received the Poirot award for his outstanding contribution to the genre.

Bestselling Scottish author Ian Rankin has been among those congratulating Martin on the Diamond Dagger.

He added: “Martin Edwards is not only a fine writer but he is also ridiculously knowledgeable about the field of crime and suspense fiction.

“He is also a great champion of crime writing and crime writers. He has been an active – and proactive – member of the CWA for many years and has guided countless writers into publication through his scrupulous editorship of short story anthologies.

"His novels feature an acute sense of place as well as deep psychological insights. As a solicitor, he knows the legal world more intimately than most of his fellow novelists. He is a fitting winner.”