Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

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 The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is a writing contest for published and unpublished authors of romantic suspense, mystery, suspense and thrillers with romantic subplots and mainstream mystery, suspense and thrillers.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 There are two divisions within the contest: Published and Unpublished.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 Finalists for each division are announced in May [Unpublished] and June [Published].

Congratulations to this year's Published Winners! The list can be found here.

And congratulations to this year's Unpublished Winners! The list can be found here.

All finalists were invited to attend the Death by Chocolate Party hosted by the Kiss of Death Chapter at the Romance Writers of America's national conference. All the Daphne du Maurier Awards were announced at the party in a special presentation. Congratulations to everyone who entered the contest and to those who won and finalled in their categories.

The entry period for the 2016 Daphne competition has closed.



  • Category (Series) romantic mystery/suspense: any manuscript that fits into series romance similar to those stories found in the Harlequin Intrigue or Harlequin 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 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 Unpublished Division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 Overall 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.