Writer Dame Fiona Kidman has won the best novel prize at this year's Ngaio Marsh Awards for New Zealand crime writing.

The award winners were announced in Christchurch on Saturday night.

Kidman won for This Mortal Boy, described as a haunting recreation of the circumstances surrounding the hanging of young Belfast immigrant, Albert "Paddy" Black.

The novel won the top fiction prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards earlier this year.

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JP Pomare, who grew up near Rotorua and lives in Melbourne, won the Ngaio Marsh award for best first novel for Call Me Evie. The work is a psychological thriller about a Melbourne teenager recovering from a traumatic incident in a remote cabin in Maketū.

Major publishers have announced they will release Call Me Evie in North America and Britain.

Former Herald journalist Kelly Dennett's The Short Life And Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong won the prize for best non-fiction.

Dame Ngaio Marsh, who died in 1982, made the shortlist for the annual prize which is named after her. Marsh's unfinished Inspector Alleyn mystery set during World War II, Money in the Morgue, was completed by Stella Duffy and was a finalist for best novel.

Other finalists included Liam McIlvanney for The Quaker, Pomare for Call Me Evie, and Jen Shieff for The Vanishing Act.

Andrea Jacka's One For Another and Kelly Lyndon's Crystal Reign were in the finals for the best first novel. Finalists for the best non-fiction prize included Scott Bainbridge for The Great New Zealand Robbery, Herald crime reporter Anna Leask for Behind Bars, and Cynric Temple-Camp for The Cause Of Death.