Rec me your favourite lesbian noir content!
September 23, 2019 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I'd love to read or watch some noir fiction featuring main characters who are queer women - in my perfect world, your standard 1940s/50s Raymond Chandlerish hard-boiled detective fiction, complete with femme fatale, but...queer. Tongue-in-cheek satire would also work. I've already seen and very much enjoyed Bound (and, for subtext, Simple Favor). What should I read or watch next?
posted by jlibera to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Kelly Ford's Cottonmouths is fantastic lesbian crime fiction.
posted by amelioration at 3:39 PM on September 23, 2019

I really enjoyed The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco.
posted by creiszhanson at 3:50 PM on September 23, 2019

under the pen name vin packer, marijane meaker wrote the evil friendship, based on the parker hulme case in the 50s
posted by brujita at 4:03 PM on September 23, 2019

Sarah Waters writes historical fiction with lesbian characters.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 4:30 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter, adapted for film in 2001.
(Full disclosure: I read and watched this in an undergrad course many years ago and remember it as weird--it's a novel in verse? there's a lot of poetry in the movie?--but an engaging whodunnit with noir elements, and sexy.)
posted by adastra at 4:45 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

The specific Sarah Waters book I was thinking about was The Paying Guests. I wouldn't specifically call it a noir, but there is a murder.
posted by matildaben at 4:51 PM on September 23, 2019

I see these Monica Nolan books on Overdrive a lot.
posted by Clustercuss at 5:06 PM on September 23, 2019

Blackmail, My Love by Katie Gilmartin is great, particularly because it's set in 1950s San Francisco and the details are well-researched. The author led a queer history walking tour showcasing spots in the book when it was first released.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:07 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not quite noir, ok, the oppositite of noir, but how about the Nancy Drew parody series Nancy Clue by Mabel Maney?
posted by zippy at 7:15 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Very NSFW but also noir: Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick
posted by quercus23 at 9:25 PM on September 23, 2019

Jessica Jones and Mindhunter. Two pretty noir inspired shows with lesbian main characters, though not the leads.

The TV series adaptation of Fingersmith was super. Its a corset drama so not classic noir but features a great twisty plot. I think it was BBC. Do NOT read reviews, it'll ruin the plot. Just watch it. There is also a Korean version called The Handmaiden which is also super.

Imposters is a fun little crime drama which features a, um, complicated love quadrangle? The plot is bonkers but very heavy on the stylish crime capers. It had 4 leads: two men, a lesbian woman and a fairly indiscriminate femme fatale. And Uma Thurman.
posted by fshgrl at 10:13 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Megan Abbott's early novels are very noir and explicitly working within that kind of Raymond Chandler hardboiled tradition. (Her newer books are less hardboiled and more mainstream-lit-fic but still fantastic.) She writes a lot about relationships between women that are not necessarily explicitly romantic or sexual but really Charged With Subtext. Queenpin, especially, is an excellent example of her doing that thing.
posted by Jeanne at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

A Line in the Dark by Malindo Lo.

I will second the odd but fascinating The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter.

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (Appalachian noir with a lesbian main character; the orientation of the main character, while very evident in the book, is as far as I know not present in the movie.)

The Aud Torvingen novels by Nicola Griffith -- The Blue Place, Stay, and Always.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is, I think, a bit more noir in approach than The Paying Guests, in spite of its Victorian-era setting.

The Claire DeWitt series by Sara Gran is excellent and by the second book the main character is unobtrusively revealed to be bisexual, but the lgbt content may not be prominent enough for what you want.
posted by kyrademon at 11:23 AM on September 24, 2019

Seconding A Line in the Dark
posted by tangosnail at 1:49 PM on September 25, 2019

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