An Interview with Elly Griffiths

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Shortlistee Elly Griffiths all of our burning questions.

Read on to find out Elly’s writing quirks and what she’s most looking forward to at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival this year.

And don’t forget to cast your vote to decide who will take home the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime fiction writing award.

When did you start writing fiction? What made you want to start the long, often arduous, process of writing a book?

I wrote my first book when I was 11. It was called The Hair of the Dog (probably a phrase my parents used a lot!) and it was a Christie-esque story of a murder in a Sussex village. It wasn’t very good but it made me realise that writing a book was partly just a question of starting – and finishing.


What’s the most difficult part of writing a crime book?

Starting and finishing!


One thing we always love to know, what does your typical writing day look like?

I’ve got a writing shed in my garden. I used to share it with my beloved cat, Gus, but sadly he died last month, aged 18. I try to do a thousand words in the morning before checking emails or wordle. After lunch, I have a walk or a quick swim in the sea, then back to work.


We’ve heard of some unusual writing habits over the years, what would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I try not to have too many quirks but I like complete silence when I write – no music and certainly not any apple chomping.


Which writers have influenced your own writing the most?

I would say Wilkie Collins is my biggest influence. I love his sense of place and his characterization. My favourite quote comes from him too: ‘nothing in the world is hidden for ever.’ I’m sure that I’ve also been influenced by Agatha Christie, Nancy Spain and Dorothy L Sayers.


What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

The Companion by Lesley Thomson


What would winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Novel of the Year Award mean to you?

It would mean everything. This is my fifth time of being shortlisted and I’ve never won. That said, I’m in a better position that most to say that being shortlisted is a huge honour in itself.


Which event at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are you most looking forward to?

I always love Van McDermid’s New Blood panel. I’m also looking forward to the interviews with Tess Gerristen and Michael Connelly. And the quiz, of course! My team came second last year and we’re looking for revenge…

About the book:

The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder. Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog. All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm…We are delighted to announce that Elly Griffiths’ The Night Hawks has been shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.


About the author:

Elly Griffiths is the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries and the Brighton Mysteries.  She has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, has been shortlisted five times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for The Lantern Men. Her new series featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur began with The Stranger Diaries, which was a Richard and Judy book club pick and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in the USA. The Postscript Murders followed and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. Elly lives near Brighton with her archaeologist husband and their cat, Gus.

About the award:

The most prestigious award in crime fiction, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of The Year marks it’s eighteenth year in 2022.

The award celebrates excellence, originality, and the very best in crime fiction from UK and Irish authors. A highlight in the literary calendar, past winners include Denise Mina, Steve Cavanagh, Val McDermid and Chris Brookmyre. Awarded annually as part of Harrogate International Festivals’ Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the winner of the most wanted accolade in crime fiction receives a cheque for £3000, and an engraved oak beer cask, hand-carved by one of Britain’s last coopers from Theakstons Brewery.

The winner will be announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Awards and Party on Thursday 21st July 2022.

Book your tickets to the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award Show here!