The Crime Readers' Association

Saturday Sixers: Sixty Shades of Grey

27th July 2013

Book sales and maternity wards bloomed with the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey.  As a bit of fun, I had a look at the CWA’s Diamond Dagger award winners over the years, and wondered how some of their more famous titles would look through the lenses of a Fifty Shades reader.  A bit cheeky, and not for the prudish (not to mention copious apologies to the authors for the artistic license), but here goes…

Could Jack Reacher, hero of 2013 winner Lee Child’s novels, cope with starring in 69 for Hours, instead of 61 Hours?  It could certainly make him A Wanted Man.

I wonder how Frederick Forsyth, winner in 2012, would have fared if he’d written The Wey Hey Hey of the Jackal

Lindsey Davis, 2011 winner, wrote One Virgin Too Many as part of her Falco series…I couldn’t better that, it’s a perfect Fifty title.

Crime queen Val McDermid, who won the title in 2010, may have been looking for a different sort of award had she begun with Report for Murder, You’ve Been Soooo Naughty.  It might even have set The Mermaids Breathing Heavily.

Andrew Taylor, winner of the 2009 award, might have finished his Lydmouth series with a bang (so to speak) with Take Me, Take Me Naked to the Hangman.

Of course, we could have fun all night going through 2008 winner Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series…A is for Aaaahhh, and perhaps we could lend an X rated hand to complete the series with a Y is for Yes! Yes! Yes!

2007 winner John Harvey could have set Lonely Hearts Pounding with Oooh, Rough Treatment.

2006 winner Elmore Leonard’s The Hot Kid might have got on well with Lindsey Davis’s One Virgin Too Many.  Together, they could have been The Booty Hunters, perhaps.

Inspector Rebus, central character in 2005 winner Ian Rankin’s series, could have had A Good Spanking from Strip Tease Jack, and as for Resurrection Men…ooh er…I’d better not say it.

2004 winner Lawrence Block has beaten me to it with his latest novel, Getting Off: a novel of sex and violence.  He could already be straddling the genres, teasing Fifty fans with A Drop of the Hard Stuff.

2003 winner Robert Barnard may have pursued a different writing career had he followed up his debut novel with A Little Local Hanky Panky.

Pioneering Sara Paretsky, winner of the 2002 award, may have seen her protagonist have a Breakdown if she had to explain how she got those Burn Marks.

If the first published novel of the late Lionel Davidson, 2001 winner, had been called The Wild Night of Wenceslas, the film based on it could still have been Hot Enough for June.

2000 winner Peter Lovesey’s early publishing career included The Detective Wore Silk Drawers, unadulterated by me.  Perhaps his Supt Peter Diamond series could have included Diamond Lust?

These are the Diamond Dagger Award winners from the Naughties, er the Noughties.  Hugely talented writers who’ve all raised the bar in crime writing and given us readers much to devour.  I, for one, am glad they wrote what they did, although it’s been a giggle to fantasise a bit.


Jackie McLean  is an avid reader and blogs about her love of writing here

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