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|Awarded for||Best crime novel of the year|
|Presented by||Crime Writers' Association (CWA)|
|Most recent winner||Ray Celestin |
Sunset Swing (2022)
|Most awards||Ruth Rendell (4)|
|Most nominations||Ruth Rendell, James Lee Burke, and Mick Herron (5)|
From 1955 to 1959, the organization named their top honor as the Crossed Red Herring Award. From 1995 to 2002 the award acquired sponsorship from Macallan and was known as the Macallan Gold Dagger.
In 2006, because of new sponsorship from the Duncan Lawrie Bank, the award was officially renamed as the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, and gained a prize fund of £20,000. It was the biggest crime-fiction award in the world in monetary terms. In 2008, Duncan Lawrie Bank withdrew its sponsorship of the awards. As a result, the top prize is again called the Gold Dagger without a monetary award.
From 1969 to 2005, a Silver Dagger was awarded to the runner-up. When Duncan Lawrie acquired sponsorship, this award was dropped. After the sponsorship was withdrawn, this award was not reinstated.
Since its inception, the award has been given to 57 writers. Ruth Rendell has won the award a record four times, including two awards for the novels A Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet, published under the pseudonym Barbara Vine; this makes her the only writer who has won the award under different names. Rendell, James Lee Burke, and Mick Herron were nominated a record five times. Abir Mukherjee is the most nominated author in this category without a single win (4 nominations).
The Crime Writers' Association also awards the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and several other "Dagger" awards.