Having completed the Sisters in Crime book bloggers’ moderate challenge, I am now embarking on the expert level:
write ten blog posts about works of crime fiction by women authors. For each, mention three similar women authors whose works you would recommend.
Margot Kinberg has written two delightful books in that enticing subgenre, “academic crime”. Her detective, Joel Williams, is both an ex-cop and a professor, bringing a calm sense of wisdom to the disturbing events that have happened previously. Margot herself is a professor, so she depicts university life with authenticity and insight, but never with a heavy hand.
Publish or Perish, I wrote in my review a couple of years ago, “is a literate, light yet engaging read. The account of life at Tilton University rings authentically true, as one might expect from the author’s credentials as an associate professor at a prestigious US university. The pace never flags as the investigation narrows down to a small group of suspects, and previous associations become clearer. I thoroughly enjoyed Publish or Perish, and can recommend it to anyone who wants to be taken out of themselves for a couple of hours, and who is curious about the backstabbing and doublespeak that can go on in the groves of academe.”
About her second novel, B-Very Flat, I wrote: “The author has a lovely light writing style while at the same time conveying the sadness of the story she’s telling. The pace of the book never falters, and in particular the author’s identification of the concerns and feelings of young adults is remarkable. I highly recommend this book, which I am sure will rank highly among my favourite reads of the year. I discovered Margot Kinberg’s books via her excellent blog Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, and I am very glad I did. I can’t wait for the next.”
Now I have to recommend three authors who write in a similar vein.
Carole Schmurak‘s Deadmistress is not set in a university but in a “posh private school”. The headmistress is killed and Susan Lombardi, a professor and educational consultant, sets out to solve the crime because a friend of hers has been accused of it. I enjoyed this novel, but have not yet read its two sequels, Death by Committee and Death at Hilliard High (all are available for a very reasonable price in Kindle format, I note!).
Elly Griffiths has written three very enjoyable novels about an academic, Ruth Galloway, who as a forensic archaeologist is a consultant to the local (Norfolk) police. In The Crossing Places, The Janus Stone and The House at Sea’s End, we follow not only Ruth’s detective skills but her somewhat chaotic private life.
Sisal-Jo Gazan‘s first novel, The Dinosaur Feather, is apparently based in part on her PhD thesis on the evolutionary relationship between dinosaurs and birds. This question is at the root of the crime in which PhD student and single parent Anna Bella Nor becomes tangled up. Although not as light in touch or as smooth to read as Margot’s novels, The Dinosaur Feather features a similarly authentic view of academic life, this time in a university in Denmark, and the tensions of academic success or failure.