Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is named for Daphne du Maurier, the author of REBECCA, a suspense novel with romantic and gothic overtones and a precursor to today's romantic suspense. The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is a writing contest for published and unpublished authors of romantic suspense, mystery, suspense and thrillers with romantic subplots and mainstream mystery, suspense and thrillers.

 The contest provides helpful feedback by trained judges, and winning or placing in the competition adds a boost to the entrant's writing career. There are two divisions within the contest: Published and Unpublished. Entries are received January 15th - March 15th each year. Finalists for each division are announced in May [Unpublished] and June [Published].

We are excited to announce the finalists for the Unpublished Division.

For the PDF file, click here.


The DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE –Unpublished Division Finalists for 2017 are:


  • Blood Rights by A.L.R. Court 
  • Confide In Me by Kathryn Denman 
  • Smash & Grab by Lori Matthews
  • Reid's Diamond by Cheryl Rabin 
  • Villa Marco Polo by H. S. Stavropoulos


  • Whitecliff by Valen Cox
  • Lovely Digits by Jeanine Englert 
  • Hidden Depths by Pamala Knight 
  • The Secrets Within the Towers by Abigail Wilson 


  • Breathing Shadows by Loretta Eidson
  • Fatal Assignment by Loretta Eidson
  • Fair Haven by Laura Conner Kestner 
  • Incentives by Sharee Stover
  • Stolen Vows by Darlene L. Turner 


  • Goldilocks Nine by Christine Gunderson 
  • The Last Descendent by Kristina Kairn 
  • Haunted by Shani Lynne 
  • Affliction by Pamela Varnado
  • The Transformation of Alexis Doe by Jilly Wood


  • Shot Down by Tracy Brody
  • The Hustler by Angie Hockman 
  • Criminal Heat by Jan Jackson 
  • Shadowplay by Shannyn Jordan w/a Jordyn Jacobs 
  • Voice for the Dead by SB Woodson 



  • Inherent Lies by Alicia Anthony 
  • Emerald Drone by Alan Chaput 
  • Ghosts of Harvard by Jeff Cooper
  • The End of Youth by Tammy Euliano 
  • It Hurts by Robbin Luckett
  • Stosh and the Devil by Michele Reed


Winners will be announced during KOD's annual Death by Chocolate Party at the RWA® National Conference in Orlando, Florida. 
Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest and to all our wonderful judges as well as our very hard-working coordinators.

Watch this space for the announcement for the Finalists in June for the Published division.

 Good luck to all entrants!



  • Category (Series) romantic mystery/suspense: any manuscript that fits into series romance similar to those stories found in the Harlequin Intrigue or Harlequin Romantic Suspense lines.
  • Historical romantic mystery/suspense: any manuscript set in a time that predates the end of World War II.
  • Inspirational romantic mystery/suspense: any manuscript in which religious or spiritual beliefs form a significant part of the story.
  • Mainstream mystery/suspense: any manuscript where the mystery/suspense is the main plot.  
  • Paranormal/Time travel/Futuristic (PTTF) romantic mystery/suspense: any manuscript in which paranormal elements play a significant role.
  • Single Title romantic mystery/suspense: any manuscript where the romance is the main plot but which contains elements of mystery/suspense. 

Division Specific

 Unpublished Division

 Sample Score Sheets

 Published Division

 Previous Winners and Finalists


For questions, please contact the Daphne Contest Chairman here.


Tread Lightly

Tread lightly...But know that while we are all working together here, the conversation can turn quickly to death, destruction and mayhem. And we are fine with that. We'll even abet you as you work to do the same, to become the best spinner of romantic mysteries and thrillers that you can be. So come on in, the water's warm...as blood.