Crime, Insured!
March 16, 2013 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Might you recommend crime fiction written by women?

For the purposes of this question crime fiction can be understood to mean novels or novellas that are primarily about criminals and the things they, as criminals, are wont to do. Characters on the side of the angels (police, P.Is &c) should be secondary or absent entirely.

Some good examples of the sort of fiction I'm looking for are Criminal, The Name of the Game is Death, and the Parker novels.
posted by Gin and Comics to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
How about Patricia Highsmith's Ripley series?
'Highsmith introduced Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955) as a young man making a meager living off his "talents": forgery, impersonation, and lying...Highsmith characterizes Ripley as a "suave, agreeable and utterly amoral" con artist and serial killer who always evades justice...Ripley is portrayed as devoid of conscience; in The Boy Who Followed Ripley, he admits that he has never been seriously troubled by guilt.'
posted by bcwinters at 11:00 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Check out Christa Faust's work, especially the Angel Dare books, Money Shot and Choke Hold.
posted by dortmunder at 11:46 AM on March 16, 2013

Kelley Armstrong's Exit Strategy is about a hitwoman. (She's kind of acting in a detective role, so I'm not sure it's perfect for you, but it's definitely all criminal-underworld-y.) I found the sequel much, much less interesting, and probably won't bother with the third, but the first book was fun.

There's a strong tradition in fantasy of the thief protagonist - examples from my shelves include Take A Thief (plucky urchins by Mercedes Lackey, pure fluff and the dialect will kill you if you hate dialect, but otherwise fun,) Melusine by Sarah Monette (rather grim fantasy involving a thief and his badly abused magician half-brother,) and Bloodshot (and sequel) by Cherie Priest, utterly delightful urban fantasy about a vampire thief with OCD.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:47 AM on March 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Don't know if historical fiction is up your alley, but Sarah Waters' Fingersmith is all about criminal crossing and double-crossing.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:49 AM on March 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding Ripley; Highsmith is definitely in the top tier of crime writers.
posted by pont at 12:04 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Feminist Press has reissued several under. their Femmes Fatales imprint.
posted by brujita at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2013

You might also be interested in Megan Abbott and Margaret Millar's novel Beast in View. And let me add Dorothy B Hughes, particularly In A Lonely Place.
posted by dortmunder at 12:14 PM on March 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl and others.
posted by walla at 12:31 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Out by Natsuo Kirino would probably fit the bill.
posted by Diagonalize at 12:46 PM on March 16, 2013

Ruth Rendell, Live Flesh and Going Wrong.
posted by BibiRose at 1:07 PM on March 16, 2013

I was going to recommend Megan Abbott, particularly Queenpin, and Christa Faust; I'm delighted to be beaten to it!

Cathi Unsworth is great. Liza Cody's Gimme More is definitely in the Highsmith vein.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:45 PM on March 16, 2013

Seconding Margaret Millar. And Pamela Branch, if she's not too comic for you.
posted by pete_22 at 1:57 PM on March 16, 2013

If you're intent on fiction written by women, the Parker novels don't qualify. They were written by Donald E. Westlake (RIP) under the name Richard Stark.

A number of the novels written by Ruth Rendell under the name Barbara Vine have criminal -- or at least seriously bent -- protagonists. And I've enjoyed all the Liza Cody books I've read.

Great question; I never thought of these particular parameters, but it's sending me off to the library!
posted by kestralwing at 5:33 PM on March 16, 2013

Patricia Cornwell.
posted by Philemon at 6:10 PM on March 16, 2013

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