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Changing the way that crime was written

29 August 2016

‘The thing that draws me to the crime novel is that, in the wake of a crime, it's very hard to maintain facades. If someone's been murdered, you don't talk about the fact that, for example, Uncle Ray was a miserable alcoholic. But now Uncle Ray is dead and that may be relevant. Every family has secrets like that, and society at large has secrets and facades. A crime in a community is a bit of an earthquake. That interests me...

What was interesting was that the resurgence of crime in the US was very much driven by women writing female-centric books. These books changed the way that crime was written: they had more backstories and more connections. They were not loners, they were not the Raymond Chandler lone knights...

I feel really strongly that crime writers need to look inside themselves and ask: is my work gratuitously violent? Does it stumble into certain tropes without realizing it? Is it about the protagonist and loses sight of the fact that people did die? I really worry about the novel where the crime is seen almost as a course of self-improvement for the investigator.

Laura Lippman, author of Wilde Lake, in Bookbrunch