Tuesday, March 8, is International Women’s Day this year. When I mentioned this to my cousin, she retorted (in her characteristic fashion): “Why celebrate the day? We should celebrate women instead!” And she had a point.
So without wasting another moment, here I am, to celebrate the women who write historical mysteries, and the female sleuths who solve them. From Agatha Christie to Ellis Peters, and from Phryne Fisher to Miss Marple, both of those worlds are richly populated — a treasure trove of feminine mystique, for our collective reading pleasure.
Here are two excellent places to start exploring that treasure trove, as my friend Srikrishna pointed out to me recently:
The first is a blog post on women in detective fiction, on the Mystery People site, which explores women writers in this genre from Mary Shelley all the way to contemporary women writers of detective fiction such as Megan Abbott and Meg Gardiner.
The second is the Guardian’s listicle on the top 10 fictional female sleuths, according to Anne Holt (herself an accomplished writer of crime thrillers). Here you will find familiar characters like the aforementioned Miss Marple, and the more recent Lisbeth Salander, but you will also meet a few that you may not know, but should.
So if you haven’t already explored this space, use this Women’s Day to begin your journey (or if you need more time, take all of March, which is Women’s History Month). And don’t forget to let us know what you find!