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Forgotten Women Mystery Writers of the 40s and 50s

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:44 PM | Deleted user

While writers such as Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler churned out hard-boiled mysteries, and Agatha Christie became the queen of cozies, a slew of women were giving birth to a new and hard to define mystery sub-genre. Today, we'd call it the psychological crime novel. So popular was this genre in the 40s and 50s, many of their novels were adapted to film or television. Laura by Vera Caspary is now a classic starring Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb. Humphery Bogart and Gloria Grahame starred in the adaptation of the Dorothy B. Hughes novel In a Lonely Place. These forgotten, but highly successful, women mystery and crime fiction writers are seeing a resurgence in popularity with the publication of an anthology collection assembled by the Library of America. Feeling nostalgic? Check out these underrepresented writers for a dose of mystery, suspense, thrills and fear.


  • Monday, June 11, 2018 3:40 PM | Mark Bacon
    I second the motion. I recently discovered Caspary and Hughes. I selected Ride the Pink Horse by Hughes as the selection for my book group last month. It’s terrific. Hughes was a master and sadly quit writing novels and focused on reviews when her family was young. She belongs in the same class as Hammett, Chandler, Woolrich and Cain. I wrote a review of Pink Horse recently on my website, here:
    It was also made into a movie. Robert Montgomery directed and starred in the picture. Read the book first.
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We are the Sacramento, California chapter of Sisters in Crime. We promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers.

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