Crime Writers (A Rant)

Really 3If someone said “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?

Fuck you.

Probably, then I’d walk away.

If I didn’t. If I stayed and kept chatting, I’d add something like this:

Seriously. It’s the twenty first century, and you appear not to notice how offensive the phrase “nothing against women” is, or how it suggests, right off the bat, that you find the women’s works inferior. Also, you are an idiot if you didn’t notice you’re talking to a woman mystery author, so you are implying that you have no desire to read my work at all because it’s sure to be inferior to a man’s writing. So why should I waste my conversation on you?

If, perhaps, the statement came from a student-type or someone who I thought was asking out of ignorance, someone who might be willing to change a viewpoint or attitude, then I might give the more didactic answer.

By ‘crime fiction’, you seem to imply ‘hard hitting thrillers’. Are you sure they’re all men? Are you sure it isn’t just men in the forefront of your mind? And are you sure you’ve read enough women crime writers to know whereof you speak? Consider the things you enjoy in crime writing and look closely at those genres. There are women scattered throughout.

Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers are rather hard to dismiss. And what about Margery Ellingham and Ngaio Marsh? (Why no, Ngaio wasn’t a man. Please, don’t confuse author with character.) Modern example? Patricia Cornwell, anyone?

Consider the attitudes that shape your expectations, then go pick up one of their books. Compare them to their male counterparts. Do the women flinch from hard hitting things? I think not.

And for that matter, is it only women who write heart-warming cozies? Can’t a guy pen one of those?(Hint: If you said no, look more closely.) Think about the society that forces one gender to justify its presence in any field and make an effort to be part of the solution. Otherwise, it sounds like you have quite a lot against female crime writers, and you’re on a one person campaign to insult them all. And if that’s the case, kindly refer to my first answer and fuck off.



This post was written in response to a prompt by the Sisters in Crime, a marvelous writer’s organization of which I am a member. Yes, you have to pay to join. That’s OK. It’s more than blog hops, and quite worthwhile. They gave us lots of options, but practically invited me to rant with that one! And I’m shouting out to a couple of other fine writers here.

As usual, I haven’t figured out the rules yet, but I’m participating anyway. I can’t tell who is supposed to tag whom and when, but take a gander at a couple of other fine authors.

Don’t miss H.A. Somerled, author of technothrillers Angel’s Code and Angel’s Betrayal, who was the one who got things rolling for me with this hop! She swears she once scared Hugh Jackman, but I don’t have the inside scoop. She resides @HASomerled on Twitter, and on her eponymous website.

And check out Elaine Powell (not related), author of #1 Amazon bestselling historical thrillerThe Fifth Night. You can find her @empowellauthor on Twitter or on her site, which also shares her name.


About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Crime Writers (A Rant) — 4 Comments

  1. I read this yesterday, and I’ve spent 24 hours trying to compose a cogent response……….

    I don’t think people necessarily say these things to be sexist. Oh, some absolutely do, and they’re jerks.

    But I get every excuse in the world for why people won’t buy my book at book events. 1. I only read non-fiction. (It’ll be really interesting to see how those folks make excuses when I have one fiction AND one non-fiction book for sale.) 2. I don’t have any money. (Complete and total bullshit. You just don’t want to spend money on my book.) 3. I’ll come back later and buy one. (Liar, liar, pants on fire.) 4. I don’t read. 5. I’ll buy it online.

    Basically, people don’t want to say NO, so they come up with these excuses that don’t quite sound like NO. When I crack how to make these people realize all these things mean NO, I’ll sell more books at events. Right now, I convert about a third of the people to sales, which is a decent conversion rate, but I’d like it to be half.
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    • Ha! I love how the question puts you in one frame of mind and me in another completely. I’m imagining running into some idiot socially and having that come out of their mouth. It’s the phrase, “Nothing against women writers” that indicates the underlying sexism to me. There are SO many ways to say you don’t read a lot of women crime writers without using a phrase that sets an inconsiderate tone at the outset. But as for people who won’t buy the books. Yeah. That’s hard.

  2. I’d ask them if they were serious, I mean, Agatha Christie? Patricia Cornwall? Rita May Brown? Sue Grafton? Donna Leon? PD James? Such a long list of wonderful women crime writers who put some of the men, even those who call themselves professionals, to shame. Why cut out half of the world just because of gender?
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