Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April Author Birthday: the Women of Mystery

If you're a woman born in April and thinking of a career change, you might want to consider mystery writing. Check out the number of incredibly successful female mystery writers who were all born in April.

We'll start with one of the classics: Ngaio Marsh (April 23). Although born in New Zealand, Ngaio Marsh is considered one of the great English female mystery writers—frequently cited alongside English authors Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham for her contributions to the genre. She wrote 32 mystery novels over her 50 year career. She died in 1982. The library has recently added a number of new reprints of her novels in omnibus editions.

Janet Evanovich (April 22) and Sue Grafton (April 25) are 2 of the biggest names amongst contemporary female mystery authors. Though their styles are very different, both have mega-popular series featuring female leads. Evanovich's Stephanie Plum has found a huge fan base amongst readers who appreciate adventure, humour and a bit of romance in their mysteries (start with One for the Money). While Sue Grafton's PI Kinsey Millhone is more of a hard-boiled detective in a series with lots of detail and suspense (start with A is for Alibi).

While Lois Duncan and Elizabeth Lowell are both technically more suspense writers than mystery, both were also born in April and seemed to deserve a mention here. Duncan (April 28) is best known as an author for young adults, and was a favourite of mine in my early teens. Elizabeth Lowell (April 5) is a popular author of (according to her website) "hard edged suspense with a passionate twist", but some of her earlier work includes mystery writing: she was part of team who wrote under the name A.E. Maxwell.

Based on the company she keeps with her birth month, things are looking good for relative newcomer to the mystery game, Jacqueline Winspear (April 30). Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series is a gentle historical mystery series set in the UK in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The latest in the series A Lesson in Secrets, was just released.

1 comment:

  1. Six more days and I would have been an April baby which would suit my chosen genre of fiction writing just fine. Interesting post! I need to look up some Dorothy Sayer novels.