Detective Novels: The Best Ones Are Written by Men

Maxine is calling for suggestions on strong detective novels written by women in response to David Montgomery’s list, 10 Greatest Detective Novels, which did not have one female author. Block, Chandler, Crumley, Hammett, Stout, and others make Montgomery’s list, and he explains in the comments on Petrona that he doesn’t like P.D. James and further: “My favorite contemporary female detective writers are probably Laura Lippman and Denise Hamilton. I think they’re both great writers, but neither quite cracked the list.”

An interesting discussion has begun. One commenter notes the dominance of American writers. That seems only natural to me. We, Americans, are the best in the world at everything, except maybe soccer and automobiles, so naturally we write the best detectives novels.

We blog better than anyone else too.

And stuff.

I will be ducking and running now.

17 thoughts on “Detective Novels: The Best Ones Are Written by Men”

  1. Yes, Montgomery pointed out that Christie’s work is good as a whole, but he had difficulty choosing one novel that was as good as the others on the list.

  2. Didn’t read his reasons for rejecting James, but I would certainly consider Gaudy Night, or the Nine Tailors, or Murder Must Advertise (all Sayers) to be worthy options.

  3. Do women feel the same about male novelists as I do about females? With a few blessed exceptions, I find that women mostly don’t “get” male characters. Their men seem to ring false. For that reason, I mostly stick to male writers.

  4. Largely true of male writers and female characters. However, we are tougher than you are, so alot of us read the men anyway ;P

  5. derringdo, and here I thought you were a man. I don’t know anything anymore. My world is dissolving. . . . can’t . . . hold . . . on . . . gasp

  6. Hi, Phil and Lars, thanks for mentioning this story here. I have finally posted my list at:

    Some Americans, some brits, some neither.

    So, women can’t write believeable male characters, eh? Is this just crime fiction or any fiction?

    I think that one could surely say the same thing about men? If you look at the authors on David Montgomery’s list kthe ones I have read anyway, I would not say that their female characters are that great.

    I’d say that many or most of the people on my final “10” list are as good at portraying men as women— Phil and Lars, I challenge you — name names!

  7. Well, that was the question I was asking. Do women have the same perception of female characters in books by men?

    It’s not a question of whether I’m a sexist. We all know I am.

  8. As regards soccer (and not just that), Italians are the best. This cannot denied, at least not in 2006.

    PS – Funny! Are the verification questions only about maths? Any probability? Literature? This way, you select your readers.

  9. I won’t argue with about any country’s dominance of soccer. I still have Brazil in my mind as being soccer giants and that’s because of my exposure to Pepe in the ’80s. He was Chilean, wasn’t he? See, I don’t know anything.

    The verification questions do have a little variety, but aren’t many. I didn’t want to use something that too difficult since anyone in the world could leave a comment, but I may add some more questions that require a little more from readers.

  10. I am sorry, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Pepe. After all, I am a female.

    Make up a difficult question: people will be mad at you for not being able to post their comments.

  11. Yes. That’s the reason I have avoided it. I dropped a couple of the original questions because they drew complaints. I have added a few more today, so feel free to watch for them and comment.

  12. Despite my high qualifications (Ph.D), my very first thought is “will I know the answer?”. I guess that I am aware of the amount of notions that I don’t know, even in my own field.

  13. the best agatha christie is easily and then there were none – and it doesn’t even star hercule poirot! i only ever read agatha christie’s mysteries and nothing else… yet.

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