Discuss the women of crime, that is. Crime fiction is still seen as very much a gentleman's genre, something at which fans of Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith, for a start, scoff vigorously (if scoffing can be performed vigorously). It isn’t all Arthur Conan Doyle or hardboiled detectives with endless contempt for women (hi there, Raymond Chandler), however—no, indeed. What does it mean for women to be writing crime fiction, in a world where women are subject to so much crime? Writing in a genre, furthermore, in which women characters are often cardboard floozies, or victims, or temptations, or unremarkable?
You bookworms out there probably don't need us to tell you about Laura Lippman. You already know that she's an award-winning novelist, best known for her crime stories (which feature awesome female protagonists) and her time as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun. But did you know that she's also a member of the Bitch Media National Advisory Board? And that her latest book, I'd Know You Anywhere comes out today? We sent a few questions to Laura to get the scoop on her new novel and the inspiration behind the awesome women she writes.
Crime novelist and book reviewer Jessica Mann isn't going to take it anymore. In yesterday's Guardian she was quoted as saying that she will no longer review crime fiction that features "sadistic violence" against women. And guess what? That seems to eliminate a sizable chunk of the genre.
Oh, and it doesn't stop there. The New Yorker posted a piece on this topic as well yesterday, pointing out that the reaction to Mann's decision not to review books she finds offensive has pissed off a lot of people, most of them women who love themselves some misogynistic crime fiction.