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Chapter 6 - Women in World Crime Fiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2022

Jesper Gulddal
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle, New South Wales
Stewart King
Affiliation:
Monash University, Victoria
Alistair Rolls
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle, New South Wales
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Summary

This chapter explores different modes of systemic critique employed by women writers of crime fiction around the world. It begins by introducing “systems-focused crime fiction,” a mode used by women crime writers to combat the endemic challenges posed by gender discrimination in their cultural settings. After examining the differences between this and other feminist approaches, the chapter surveys the inequalities disproportionately affecting women worldwide that are demonstrated by the systems-focus. By way of illustration, the chapter reads two subgroups of crime fiction. The first highlights women impacted by systemic oppression, as exemplified in novels of by Claudia Piñeiro, Marcela Serrano and Angela Makholwa, and the second positions women as investigators and challengers of oppressive systems, as in the works of Unity Dow, Kishwar Desai and Han Kang. The chapter concludes with a case study of femmes fatales in world crime fiction, based on a comparison of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister the Serial Killer and Natsuo Kirino’s Out. Overall, the chapter highlights the compelling ways that women crime writers utilize genre conventions to contest systemic inequalities.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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