Lionel Davidson

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Lionel Davidson (March 31, 1922 – October 21, 2009) was a British author of highly acclaimed spy thrillers who won an unequaled three Gold Daggers, an award given to the best crime novel of the year. No other author in the history of the awards, which were inaugurated in 1955 by the British Crime Writers Association, has won more than two. The first came with his very first novel, the 1960 The Night of Wenceslas, set in Prague, then continued with 1966's A Long Way to Shiloh, and the 1978 The Chelsea Murders. Although Wenceslas was a runner-up for the 1962 Edgar Award given by the Mystery Writers of America and his books were highly regarded by American critics, he was far less well-known in the United States than the United Kingdom. Davidson was far from prolific: in 35 years he published only eight crime novels, which makes the number of Gold Daggers he won even more remarkable. The only remotely comparable performance comes from his contemporary Peter Dickinson, who, in the early 1960s, won a Gold Dagger for each of his first two books.[1] The settings of Davidson's novels vary widely, ranging from Prague to Tibet to Germany to Siberia to three books set in Israel, where he lived for nearly a decade during the 1960s and '70s. [2]

See also


  1. The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest (1968), also published as Skin Deep, and The Old English Peep-Show (1969), also published as A Pride of Heroes
  2. Obituary in The New York Times, November 1, 2009, at [1]