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Watch this.

birdsquirrel replied to your post:birdsquirrel liked your post:the colonial conan…

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Summer Book Club

Hi, everyone!

Summer is just around the corner. I hope everyone is ready for another season of Women in Detective Fiction Book Club! If you have any books you would like to recommend for the summer, or any books you would like us to read, send me a message here or a tweet, @WomenCrimeFic.

I will have a final list of books posted here and on our GoodReads page by the end of May.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Meg

Georgie Porgie, Awkward Guy...

…“Kidnaps” girl while beach babes die.

From the prologue of Kelly Braffet’s “Last Seen Leaving,” one may be under the impression that the man giving the girl a lift after her car accident is up to no good as he passes the location where she specifically requested to be dropped off.  Typically, when we see a stranded woman being picked up by a strange man we assume it’s not going to end well.

And it’s assumptions like this one that Braffet plays with throughout the book.

Unless you read the overly talkative book summary, this initial reaction to George may return when you encounter him again.

I’ll admit it—I fell momentarily into the assumption trap. I allowed myself to be creeped out because of the combination of George’s social awkwardness with the corpses conveniently washing up on shore. I persistently fought against the idea that George was the killer because it seemed entirely too convenient of a plot and would be disappointing for readers, or at least to me. George doesn’t seem dangerous. Just awkward.

We may want to believe he’s the beach serial killer because it’s comfortable to assume so, whereas it’s not comforting to imagine that the serial killer remains unknown. There seems to be a need to place the blame on someone, so we turn to the “creepy” guy, who is only creepy because he doesn’t seem to get out much and his social skills amount to a whomping Zero. But, because we see him and his “awkwardness” in relation to the unknown serial killer and the discovery of more bodies, everything George does becomes suspicious. [ex:  Thinking he’s trying to hide his face from identification when the food is delivered or the manager knocks on the door. Heaven forbid the man may actually need to go to the bathroom].

Poor, George!

I wrote to Braffet about her approach to George and here’s what she said:

“My hope with the end of Last Seen Leaving was that the questions I left unanswered would point people to the questions that I did resolve, which were in my mind the meat of the story: if Anne could reconcile herself to never knowing what happened to Nick, and if Miranda could reconcile herself to having only one, highly imperfect parent.  I didn’ t intend George to be the serial killer. He’s a computer programmer, that’s all. My thinking was that he was contracted to the CIA, and found his way into some files he shouldn’t have been in; the people who come to question Miranda in the hospital are mostly interested in that. Honestly, I wrote that book quite a few years ago, and I can’t really remember if I’d intended the feds to actually mislead the public into thinking that he was the serial killer or not - either way, that’s what Miranda thinks, that he keeps showing up right before the bodies wash up, and that’s why she jumps out of the car.”

For those of you who have read LSL, what was your impression of George? Creepy? Serial Killer? Lonely? Really Miranda’s Dad?

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Here’s a short clip in which Mina discusses women in crime fiction. Woot!

“Now you can have a female protagonist and it’s almost incidental that they’re female because people don’t comment on their gender all the time […] They’re no tied down like they used to be.” -Denise Mina

Denise Mina

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From her website, http://www.denisemina.co.uk/:

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father’s job as an engineer, the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around Europe, moving twenty one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. She left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs: working in a meat factory, bar maid, kitchen porter and cook. Eventually she settled in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.

At twenty one she passed exams, got into study Law at Glasgow University and went on to research a PhD thesis at Strathclyde University on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, teaching criminology and criminal law in the mean time.
Misusing her grant she stayed at home and wrote a novel, ‘Garnethill’ when she was supposed to be studying instead.

'Garnethill' won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger for the best first crime novel and was the start of a trilogy completed by 'Exile' and 'Resolution'.

A fourth novel followed, a stand alone, named ‘Sanctum’ in the UK and ‘Deception’ in the US.
In 2005 ‘The Field of Blood’ was published, the first of a series of five books following the career and life of journalist Paddy Meehan from the newsrooms of the early 1980s, through the momentous events of the nineteen nineties. The second in the series was published in 2006, ‘The Dead Hour’ and the third will follow in 2007.

She also writes comics and wrote ‘Hellblazer’, the John Constantine series for Vertigo, for a year, published soon as graphic novels called ‘Empathy is the Enemy’ and ‘The Red Right Hand’. She has also written a one-off graphic novel about spree killing and property prices called ‘A Sickness in the Family’ (DC Comics forthcoming).

In 2006 she wrote her first play, “Ida Tamson” an adaptation of a short story which was serialised in the Evening Times over five nights. The play was part of the Oran Mor ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ series, starred Elaine C. Smith and was, frankly, rather super.
As well as all of this she writes short stories published various collections, stories for BBC Radio 4, contributes to TV and radio as a big red face at the corner of the sofa who interjects occasionally, is writing a film adaptation of Ida Tamson and has a number of other projects on the go.
How does she do it all? Well, her personal grooming is shameful, her house is filthy and her children run wild in the fields. She found a mushroom in the shower the other day. What sort of woman is that?”

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