20 detective fiction books by a diversity of female writers



Thomas & Mercer, Berkley, Mulholland, Bywater

While popular, crime fiction has a somewhat mixed reputation: on screen or on the page, pro-police propaganda, sexism, and repetition are some of the sins that plague it. But there’s more to detective fiction than lone sleuths and unstable vigilantes with badges. Both socially and politically relevant, crime novels reflect society’s darkest dangers and fears and can be as powerful as they are entertaining. The worries of the bestseller white male authors asideto remain vital, such a genre requires a diversity of experiences and perspectives.

Fortunately, despite the persistence barriers to entry In the consumer edition, many new and dynamic voices are available, and some of the most exciting are women of color. Still, my excitement comes with a caveat. As Criminal Writers of Color (CWoC) Co-founder and award-winning mystery writer Kellye Garrett attests that, in the past, interest in diversity has been fleeting.

Me too with caution optimistic. Authors of color are not a trend. Writers like Rachel Howzell Hall have been writing for decades, despite booms and busts. networks like CWOC and Sisters in Crime support each other to sustain new opportunities. And the outstanding results speak for themselves. Today, many women of color writing detective stories and thrillers foreground relevant contexts and issues: how the myth of model minority shapes life; what it is to balance community and duty when they are in opposition; the consequences of workplace harassment in the film industry from an insider’s perspective. The subjects are rich and varied. These writers often have day jobs that give their books originality and texture. They are journalists, television and film scriptwriters, lawyers and doctors, as well as brilliant storytellers. Alma Katsu draws on a 30-year career in international intelligence in red widow; Winnie Li is a former movie director who writes about sexual harm in the workplace in Partner in crime; and Vera Kurian, a social psychologist, puts her expertise to devilish use in never saw me coming.

These writers create interesting work in subgenres that span the gamut and settings that span the world, so this list could easily run to 40 or even 50 books. This is the depth of the bench.

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You are invitedby Amanda Jayatissa


More than you’ll ever knowby Katie Gutierrez


Shutterby Ramona Emerson


His name is knightby Yasmin Angoe


Like a sisterby Kelly Garrett


Bluebird, Bluebirdby Attica Locke


Partner in crimeby Winnie M Li


Arya Winters and the tiramisu of deathby Amita Murray


Everything that is not saidby Tracey Link


never saw me comingby Vera Kurian


These poisonous thingsby Rachel Howzell Hall


Kismetby Amina Akhtar


The puzzle manby Nadine Matheson


Bangalore Detectives Clubby Harini Nagendra


Portrait of a thiefby Grace D. Li


Wake me up when it’s overby Cheryl A. Head



Calm in his bonesby Nalini Singh


Clark and divisionNaomi Hirahara


counterfeitby Kirstin Chen

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