Men don’t read women authors, says Moorish Girl quoting an Observer report. I wonder whether that’s really true when it comes to crime fiction.
There are so many women crime writers it’s impossible to ignore them. And some of them are devilish good at it. Think of the queens of crime of the Golden Age: Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham… Each and every one of them was a bestseller. Christie was the most successful mystery writer since Arthur Conan Doyle.
Women are still doing well on the crime scene. PD James (left) reigns supreme, Ruth Rendell is another highly regarded veteran, Anne Perry has been both prolific and successful with her Victorian mysteries. Barbara Nadel, who has just come out with her sixth book, has already made a strong impression as a major talent. And they are all British. We haven’t come to the Americans yet. Patricia Cornwell is immensely popular though I haven’t read any of her books myself. Sue Grafton with her alphabetically titled mysteries (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar) and Elizabeth George are eminently successful. There are plenty of others. One writer I particularly liked is Francine Mathews though I have read only one of her books (Death in a Cold Hard Light). I wish I could read her Jane Austen mysteries.
Other women writers may not always appeal to men. I would rather read Graham Greene and John Updike than Margaret Drabble and Margaret Atwood for a simple reason. I can identify more easily with a man than with a woman. The sex, however, doesn’t matter so much in crime fiction. It’s about crime and detection which can be equally appealing to men and women.
(I checked The Tangled Web while writing this. It has an invaluable list of crime writers.)
*(My previous entry, "Gahmen agents infiltrate Singapore bloggers’ convention", was a spoof inspired by a Singapore meme game called Sgblogconspiracy.)