50 Mystery Novels by Women Crime Writers, Read in a Year

  • Post by Molly Odintz

The list below is the tip of the cold, murderous iceberg when it comes to works by women crime novelists, but like any other list, it’s a good place to start.

With my yearly New Year’s Resolutions, most of which I will never revisit, I usually come up some kind of reading project, based around genres, authors, or settings I’ve neglected. 2015’s goal? Best not mentioned, as I miserably failed in my efforts to complete it. 2016’s reading goal? Read fifty books by women, and if possible, fifty works of crime fiction by women; not just new releases, but also classic noir and domestic suspense. With the release of Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 50s, we’ve entered a new era of publisher and reader support for crime fiction classics by women.

Many of the books below are part of the zeitgeist – you’ll see a lot of girls in the title. I’ve also tried to focus on reading some of their antecedents, and you’ll see works on the list from Dorothy Hughes, Daphne Du Maurier, Margaret Millar, Patricia Highsmith, and other classic women crime writers of mid-century America, plus a couple of golden age works from Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. You won’t find many representatives of the tough second-wave protagonists of the 80s and 90s, or many works in translation – both areas, I’m sorry to admit, I neglected in the past year.

You will find quite a few books set in Texas, and some that have yet to be released; both quirks of a bookseller’s reading habits, as we tend to dive deep into the literature of our areas, and often receive early copies of upcoming releases.

Read More »

31 Crime Novels by Women: A New Year’s Resolution Progress Report in Honor of Women’s Equality Day

  • Post by Molly Odintz

The list below is the tip of the cold, murderous iceberg when it comes to works by women crime novelists, but like any other list, it’s a good place to start.

Minotaur Books Created This Stunning Image to Celebrate Women's Equality Day
Minotaur Books created this stunning image in celebration of Women’s Equality Day (this year, Friday, August 26th).

With my yearly New Year’s Resolutions, most of which I will never revisit, I usually come up some kind of reading project, based around genres, authors, or settings I’ve neglected. 2015’s goal? Best not mentioned, as I miserably failed in my efforts to complete it. 2016’s reading goal? Read fifty books by women, and if possible, fifty works of crime fiction by women; not just new releases, but also classic noir and domestic suspense. With the release of Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 50s, we’ve entered a new era of publisher and reader support for crime fiction classics by women.

This year, to my surprise, I’m a bit further on the path to completing my reading goal, so time to brag and share it with you all, despite my failure to complete it as of yet. Hey, I’ve got four more months left, so why not put the cart before the horse and smugly tell you all about my accomplishments? After all, I’m 31 books in, 31 crime novels by women that I can now confidently recommend in the store and on the internet, because I have read and enjoyed them. Before I (prematurely) rest on my laurels, I’d like to trace the origins of this mighty goal.

Read More »

MysteryPeople Review: THE RED PARTS: AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A TRIAL by Maggie Nelson

  • Review by Molly Odintz

9781555977368Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets and The Argonauts, is one of the most original voices writing today, and one whose work provides us with a crucial perspective on the intersection of modern thought and experience. Maggie Nelson’s latest book, The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trialis difficult to define – part true crime, part memoir, part critical analysis, and part courtroom drama, this book serves as a multidimensional platform for Maggie Nelson to recount the fallout from her aunt’s murder in 1969, the trial of her murderer decades later, and society’s obsession with the deaths of young, attractive white women.

The Red Parts is not Nelson’s first work to explore her aunt’s story. In 2004, Nelson had already finished a book of poetry called Jane: A Murder, exploring her aunt’s life, death, and unsolved murder, when her aunt’s case was reopened with the addition of new DNA evidence. Police had previously thought Jane to be a victim of a serial killer, yet had never conclusively proven this, and new DNA evidence linked Jane’s murder to an entirely different suspect. The Red Parts follows Maggie Nelson and her mother through the trial, as they have a chance to come to terms with the past, and finally learn the full story behind Jane’s murder.

Maggie Nelson destroys the boundaries between personal and political, fact and memory, creation and critique, ivory tower and public forum, and for this book, dead and alive.

Read More »