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Deadlier than the male: Why are respectable…
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Deadlier than the male: Why are respectable English women so good at… (1981)

by Jessica Mann

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'The rise of the feminine author in the field of detective fiction may well serve some future scholar as the subject of a learned thesis,' wrote Howard Haycraft in his pioneer study of crime novels.
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Why are English women so good at murder? Among the books which have survived for more than half a century, always in print and always in demand, are the murder mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and other women writers. Yet their male competitors are mostly forgotten. What is it about these womens' work that has kept it alive? And what was it about the authors that gave them such violent or cunning imaginations, always hidden behind the most respectable of facades? In this book, first published in 1981, Jessica Mann brings the perception of a fellow crime writer to her investigation of her predecessors’ lives and work. She discusses the changes in the mystery form over the years, and its enduring worldwide popularity, in a book that was described by one critic as “obligatory reading for any reader of crime fiction”, and of which another wrote "I cannot recall a better work of criticism devoted to the crime story."
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Why are English women so good at murder? Among the books which have survived for more than half a century, always in print and always in demand, are the murder mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and other women writers. Yet their male competitors are mostly forgotten. What is it about these women's work that has kept it alive? And what was it about the authors that gave them such violent or cunning imaginations, always hidden behind the most respectable of facades? In this book, first published in 1981, Jessica Mann brings the perception of a fellow crime writer to her investigation of her predecessors' lives and work. She discusses the changes in the mystery form over the years, and its enduring worldwide popularity.… (more)

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