I'm a lifelong fan of bestselling mystery writer Laura Lippman, whose character Tess Monaghan stars in stories that are often critical of pop culture. Bitch last talked to Lippman—who's on our National Advisory Board—to mark the release of her book I'd Know You Anywherein 2010. Since then, she has called attention to the lack of media coverage of female writers and I figured it was high time to check in with Lippman, given the release of our Pulp issue. I talked to Lippman the day after she had turned in the manuscript for her new book, about a cop who loves TV.
I’m curious to know: you are obviously a writer and a reader of crime fiction but have you been a lifelong reader of crime fiction? And what are some of the first books you remember reading?
LAURA LIPPMAN: If you say “lifelong reader,” that goes back to Encyclopedia Brown and The Happy Hollisters. I was not a big Nancy Drew fan because I have a really low tolerance for perfect people and Nancy is pretty perfect. She’s not only perfect, but there are these two other girls, Beth and George, who do nothing but talk about how perfect she is.
I don’t identify with someone like that and so I liked Encyclopedia Brown because he was smart but he had to have a girl be his muscle. Do you remember that part?
And for some reason, I liked The Happy Hollisters and Trixie Belden. So, I was always a crime reader. It was something that gave me a lot of pleasure, and it was something about which I was never the ironic —I don’t think of it as a guilty pleasure. I don’t even really recognize the term “guilty pleasure.”
Readers, we are living an era of ill-advised remakes of already great (or at the very least, already classic movies). Titles allegedly in the re-works include: Red Dawn, Red Sonja, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Total Recall, Barbarella, Short Circuit, and The Karate Kid. So this morning’s report from Variety about a new adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel, Mildred Pierce, had me exhaling a huge sigh. According to the report, Todd Haynes, who wrote and directed I’m Not There and Far From Heaven, is slated to write and direct a miniseries staring Kate Winslet with the possibility that it will air on HBO.
While I’d watch Winslet do anything after her guest appearance on Extras, and she can surely go toe-to-toe acting wise with the original film’s star, Joan Crawford, who won an Academy award for the role, I wondered if a new version would have anything different to offer.