Atkinson’s Jackson Brody series set in Edinburgh is among my favourites. I love how each book deals with a separate mystery and, yet, throughout the series, she pieces together the story of Brody’s life without descending into what Miller calls the “soap-opera-fication that affects the detectives in long-standing series.” Of course Atkinson is well known for her non-mystery novels. Behind the Scenes at the Museum is a wonderful book. And A God in Ruins is one of my favourite books ever. All of her books play with plot organization and point of view brilliantly.
Another author that Miller’s article praises is Tana French.
I’ve read all of French’s books. I love books about Ireland. I particularly love the Dublin Murder Squad series; each has a different main character. I’m currently reading The Secret Place and loving it; she totally nails teenage angst. But my favourite of her novels so far is Faithful Place, which deals with a decades old murder in the working class “Liberties” neighbourhood of Dublin, the teenage past of the main character, and his tangle of family relationships past and present.
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.
Denise Mina. Mina’s books are set in Glasgow, and her gritty and totally gripping books have been dubbed “Tartan Noir.” I particularly love her Paddy Meehan series. Paddy, a fledgling investigative reporter, grapples, not only with murder and mysteries, but also with the complicated political and family loyalties of Irish Catholics living in Protestant Scotland.
And let’s not forget longtime favourite author Ruth Rendell. I think I’ve read most of Rendell’s books over the years.
And I’m currently listening to her latest Wexford book, No Man’s Nightingale, on my i-pod. Wexford is now retired and still “consulting” and advising former colleague, and friend, Burden., while trying to adjust to life without work. I loved the scene where Wexford muses on having lost “authority” as he puts it, no longer able to use his status as a police detective to compel witnesses to talk to him. He is just a member of the public now. I laughed at that… thinking of how every time I see a raucous bunch of teenagers I long to wade into the fray and reestablish order. Old teacher habits die as hard as old cop habits, I guess.
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!
Sunset on the river back home.
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.