August 1, 2014 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Wanted: female-authored mystery/thrillers in the same vein as Kate Atkinson & Tana French

I really like Connie Willis, Maria Semple, Donna Tartt and Marisha Pessl as well, to give you an idea of what I typically enjoy. Not as into Gillian Flynn. Doesn't have to be a mystery, really, though those are heavily preferred.

Only women authors, though. Only reading books by women this year.
posted by troika to Grab Bag (32 answers total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
Susan Hill. Carol O'Connell. Maybe Minette Walters.
posted by jeather at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Can't go wrong with Josephine Tey. Older stuff than what you mention, but timeless.
posted by jbickers at 11:36 AM on August 1, 2014

Best answer: I'd say to look into Emily Arsenault, Emily St John Mandel, C.S. Harris if you're willing to read a historical series, maybe Laura Lippman (especially her stand-alone novels)?
posted by leesh at 11:39 AM on August 1, 2014

Chelsea Cain
posted by fuse theorem at 11:45 AM on August 1, 2014

P.D. James. She's fantastic and a leader in the field.
posted by janey47 at 11:47 AM on August 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

posted by scratch at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2014

I have similar tastes to you, and the some of the female mystery authors I like which I haven't seen mentioned yet are Kate Wilhelm, Julie Smith, Laurie R. King, and Charlaine Harris.

Early Patricia Cornwell, Faye Kellerman, Sue Grafton, and JA Jance aren't too terrible, and I read them because I'm always looking for mystery stuff to read that's not awful, but they're definitely a notch below.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Minette Walters, for sure.

Ruth Rendell's non-Wexford psychological ones.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Marcia Muller's books are good and she was one of the first to feature a female detective. Jane Haddam

Old but good, Ngaio Marsh
posted by mermayd at 11:57 AM on August 1, 2014

Cara Black - all books take place in Paris.
Nthng P.D. James, one of her non-mystery books was Children of Men and it's excellent.
posted by shoesietart at 11:58 AM on August 1, 2014

Agree with Ruth Rendell but not the Wexfords. Denise Mina. A Place of Execution by Val McDermid.

Some maybes: Elizabeth Haynes; Erin Kelly, Susan Hill.

Books Joyce Carol Oates wrote as Rosamund Smith and Lauren Kelly.

I am really enjoying The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day. Very creepy.

The Good House by Ann Leary is not a mystery but it's awesome in the way it goes over to the dark side.
posted by BibiRose at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2014

Cornelia Read
posted by Kriesa at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2014

Mo Hayder.
posted by something something at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

You might like Erin Kelly. I always recommend her to people in the same breath as Tana French.

Also, since you said doesn't have to be a mystery exactly, if you are not averse to historical settings, you might take a look at Sarah Waters, just based on the other authors you listed. Some of her stuff is thriller-like as well.
posted by tiger tiger at 12:08 PM on August 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm currently liking Alafair Burke's If You Were Here; she's a former prosecutor and writes mystery/thrillers. On that note, I also find Marcia Clark's books really enjoyable.

Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt series is about an unconventional detective and is a good counterpoint to super thriller-y reads, as is Kate Racculia's Bellweather Rhapsody.
posted by ferret branca at 12:09 PM on August 1, 2014

Nicci French (no relation to Tana French but also very good) or Elizabeth George. Ruth Rendell's best are the ones she wrote as Barbara Vine, I think.
posted by hazyjane at 12:17 PM on August 1, 2014

Oh, and definitely Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty.
posted by hazyjane at 12:18 PM on August 1, 2014

Really enjoyed "Under a Silent Moon" by Elizabeth Haynes recently.
posted by skycrashesdown at 12:37 PM on August 1, 2014

I'm a big fan of Donna Leon.
posted by naturalog at 1:11 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try "The Other Typist" by Suzanne Rindell.
posted by sirvinegar at 1:43 PM on August 1, 2014

Belinda Bauer writes psychological thrillers but there's always a deliciously dark humour behind much of her writing. Hugely recommended, especially Rubbernecker.

Oh and Sophie Hannah.

(hazyjane - Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write psychological thrillers together. Great reads though!)
posted by humph at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2014

Seconding Denise Mina, she's brilliant. Also check out Elly Griffiths and Ann Cleeves. Val McDermid, PD James, and Elizabeth George for sure.
posted by mareli at 3:05 PM on August 1, 2014

What, NO ONE mentioned the incomparable Dorothy Sayers?
posted by bearwife at 3:52 PM on August 1, 2014

^And Patricia Highsmith! She's terrific.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:11 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Louise Penny, Gail Bowen, Dana Stabenow, Margaret Maron, Kathy Reichs are all great mystery authors who have long series. (Read series in order for best results!)
posted by Daily Alice at 6:29 PM on August 1, 2014

Lindsey Davis
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:57 PM on August 1, 2014

Cara Hoffman's "So Much Pretty" was good, although it did make me ill.

Anne Wingate "The Buzzards Must Also be Fed" (the rest of the series, meh)

I am appalled that no one yet has mentioned Nicola Griffith's hardboiled trilogy (The Blue Place, Stay, and Always).

Meanwhile, I will apparently be mining everything else in this list for a couple of years...
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 7:14 PM on August 1, 2014

I read a lot of mysteries by women, too. I like series and generally think they should be read in order to get the evolution of the characters.
--Louise Penny is outstanding--complicated plots and personal relationships. Explosive.
--Gail Bowen has an interesting female main character whose life evolves over the series.
--Dorothy Sayers & Margery Allingham for early 20th c aristocrats in trouble. (I love Lord Peter, as so many do; the new Sayers/Lord Peter written by someone else are OK.)
--I like Sara Paretsky both for V I Warshawski and Chicago.
--Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries by Julia Spencer-Fleming--Clare is an Episcopal priest & ex-Army chopper pilot, not something you encounter every day. He's the local police chief.
--Nevada Barr's character Anna Pigeon is a National Park police officer. All of the novels are mysteries & some are chilling, I think. (I still feel claustrophobic thinking about the one set in a cave.)
--Edna Buchanan has a new Britt Montero mystery due next year (the last one was 2007). Britt is a crime reporter in Miami.
--Barbara Parker writes a legal thriller series--they usually have Suspicion in the title. She has some stand alone thrillers, too.

One of my absolute favorites is Laurie R King. Her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series is terrific (also great on audio), but she has several stand alone novels and at least two other series. The Stuyvesant & Grey novels are kind of off-beat/creepy, set in the 20s-30s in Paris. Her Kate Martinelli series is about a San Francisco homicide inspector, her SFPD partner, and her life partner. She is amazingly prolific and varied.

Lisa Scottoline also writes in series and stand alone novels. The series revolves around
Rosato & Associates, a woman-owned law firm in Philadelphia. The stand alones are darker mystery/thrillers that often address family issues.

Lighter mystery series, but still with interesting women/situations, include those by Katherine Hall Page, Sarah Graves, Ellen Hart, & Erin Hart (set in modern Ireland, but archeology focused). Before she wrote the Sookie Stackhouse books that inspired True Blood, Charlaine Harris wrote a darker 5-book series set in Shakespeare AK with a strong woman amateur sleuth. She also wrote a lot of fluffier mysteries.

I recommend avoiding Linda Fairstein--really annoying teasing "romantic" relationship with her detective partner that never evolves much beyond adolescence. He continually belittles her. For someone supposedly so smart and feminist, that relationship makes me roll my eyes. In my opinion, neither the Kathy Reichs nor the Patricia Cornwall Kay Scarpetta series are particularly well-written (and I don't like how the Scarpetta novels focus on descriptions of bloody, mysonigistic violence against women).

Check out Stop, You're Killing Me. In addition to mining it for more authors, it will help you read series in order. It has lists by author of titles & publication dates. A lot of other helpful lists, too, including upcoming new releases, so you can place those library holds.

(Next year or whenever you are reading male authors, too, read the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. If you liked Where'd You Go, Bernadette, you will like Flavia's adventures. Also great on audio--as is Bernadette.)
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 9:50 PM on August 1, 2014

Laura Lippman's standalone novels.
posted by Violet Hour at 12:28 AM on August 2, 2014

I rarely recommend Susanna Moore's In the Cut because so many people seem to actively hate it, but I loved the noirish quality. Ditto with Leah Stewart's Body of a Girl. These are both novelists who never wrote a thriller again. But of them have a lot of the crossover quality that I also liked in Atkinson and French.
posted by BibiRose at 4:38 AM on August 2, 2014

Ditto PD James, Laurie King, Dorothy Sayers & Patricia Highsmith.
posted by juv3nal at 3:24 PM on August 2, 2014

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