I know, I know... I wrote a post on "murder" only a few weeks ago. It must be all this shopping for jeans... frustration, failure, more frustration. I can't sit still to read a literary novel and so fall back on my love of mysteries. Murder and mayhem, to use a cliché, more befitting of my mood at the moment.
Last week I read an interesting article by Laura Miller on Salon.com. "Why Today's Most exciting Crime Novelists Are Women." You can read the article yourself here. Miller explains that she has become tired of "[picking] up much-praised new crime novels about some tough, tough guy, usually in a car, with a gun. Pretty soon will be more guns, some fistfights, assorted criminals snarling threats of various degrees of scariness and wit." In fact Miller says the genre has become very, very "tired, " except for a few writers who all happen to be women. Hmmmm.
To some extent, I agree with her. I was a big fan of the Jo Nesbo novels at first, and yet I could hardly get through his last book. Nesbo has upped the ante so much that his plots have become barely believable... to me, anyway. And Stuart McBride, whose writing style is witty and "atmospheric" (as book blurbs love to say), I had to abandon because...well... some of his plots are so bizarre.... he's lost my interest. Just gore for the sake of gore.... would that be gratuitous gore?
And when I'd finished reading Miller's article, I took a look at my own book pile (tower might be a better word... à la leaning tower of Pisa, maybe.) Tana French, Sharon Bolton, Elly Griffiths, Robert Rotenberg, Denise Mina, Ruth Rendell: the pile of books I was currently reading, about to start reading, or had recently finished were almost all by women authors.
Of the women crime writers that Miller uses as examples in her article, several were authors I had read.
Like Kate Atkinson.
|Kate Atkinson wuwm.com|
Another author that Miller's article praises is Tana French.
|Tana French www.publishersweekly.com|
As Miller says...these women writers don't write about "the sleazy nightclubs, back alleys, diners and shabby offices of the archetypal PI novel, but a far more intimate and treacherous terrain: family, marriage, friendship."
I'd add several women crime novelists to Laura Miller's list.
Like Sharon Bolton. Her Lacey Flint books are great. And Lacey is no shrinking violet, that's for sure.
|Sharon Bolton randomhouse.com.au|
|Denise Mina www.amirite.com|
|Ruth Rendell www.vintageanchorbooks.com|
And speaking of old...er, I mean... former teachers...and former teacher's former students. I originally heard about the Salon article on Twitter where I "follow" a former student, Sarah Weinman. Now she's a crime writer, reviewer, and editor in New York. As well as an acknowledged "expert on crime fiction." Way to go Sarah!
Sarah's book Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives is an anthology of the writers from the 1940's-1970's who paved the way for the likes of Denise Mina and Tana French. You can find her book on Amazon or follow her on Twitter at @sarahw.
There are so many more wonderful female writers who write about murder. Like P.D. James (well, d'uh, of course), Elly Griffiths (whose detective is not a detective but an archaeologist), Ann Cleeves (who I've written about before on this blog) ...and I could go on but I won't.
At least not today.
I've got packing to do. I'm heading home to the east coast tomorrow for my 40th high school reunion. Yikes!
So...I have outfits to plan. You know....the big reunion stressor. What to wear that looks chic, but not too edgy, youngish, but not "mutton dressed as lamb" young, dressed up enough to give me confidence, but still casual enough to be comfortable?
Thanks to readers who have recommended books in their comments. I'm currently reading my second Robert Rotenberg (yes, I know he's not female, but his books are still great) and I have a Stephanie Barron to pack in my carry-on.
Have you read any good murder mysteries lately ... that a "she" has written? Do tell.