Over the weekend I read this beautiful article on women writing the best crime novels published in The Atlantic. Novels, such as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train among many others were listed - although a bit sad that Kate Atkinson's work was not included in the article. As the author notes:
A number of years ago - well before 'Gone Girl' - I realised that most of the new crime fiction I was enjoying had been written by women. The guys had been all but run off the field by a bunch of very crafty girls, coming at them from everywhere: America (Mgan Abbott, Alison Gaylin, Laura Lippman), England (Alex Marwood, Paula Hawkins, Sophie Hannah), Scotland (Val McDermid, Denise Mina), Ireland (Tana French), Norway (Karin Fossum), Japan (Natsuo Kirino).
Well, women African writers are also killing it (no pun intended) with their subtle, but terrifying stories, and I wanted to give some love to the amazing female crime (mystery and thriller) writers out there. Many have already been mentioned in my previous posts on African crime writers - Unity Dow, Malla Nunn, Margie Orford, as well as Lauren Beukes, Priscilla Holmes, Joanne Macgregor, Charlotte Otter, Joanne Hichens and H J Golakai.
So here are six more crime novels by African women writers to add to your ever-growing list.
Red Ink by Angela Makholwa
South African author, Angela Makholwa's bio state that 'in 1998 ... she wrote to a convicted serial killer requesting an exclusive interview.' Five years later he acknowledged her letter, asked to meet up and requested she write a book about his life. Red Ink, Angela Makholwa's debut novel is very loosely based on this meet-up with a convicted felon. In it, public relations consultant and ex-journalist Lucy Khambule sees her life taking a dramatic turn, after receiving an unexpected call from Napoleon Dingiswayo - a convicted serial killer. Dingiswayo wants Lucy to tell his story, and intrigued by this proposition, she decides to take it; seeing it as an opportunity to fulfill her life-long dream of writing a book. But pursing dream comes at a price, and how much is Lucy willing to pay for it?
Random Violence by Jassy Mackenzie
In book 1 of the Jade de Jong series, P.I. Jade de Long fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in tow, she offers to help her father's former assistant, Superintendent David Patel, with his investigation of Annette Botha - murder victim of a car-jacking. The primary suspect - her husband, Piet Botha. As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father's murder.
The Fatal Payout by Lauri Kubuitsile
Book 1 of the Kate Gomolemo Detective Series sees corruption in a road tender ending up in the murder of one of the clerks in the Roads Department Kgakgamatso Maipelo. But who murdered her? The are a list of men, including her soldier boyfriend. Detective Gomolemo needs to sole the case, but will her attraction to Kgakgamatso's boss John Mogami distract her and affect he case?
The Cutting Room by Mary Watson
In this psychological thriller from the Caine Prize winner, film editor Lucinda and her husband Amir's marriage is troubled. Lucinda is left angry and puzzled after her Amir abruptly leaves home - following research he had been doing on old housing and building methods. Now Lucinda worries that his departure could be her fault. Soon afterwards, Lucinda is assaulted in a knife attack in her own home, which throws her even more off balance. She finds a distraction in assisting an older friend, Austrian film-maker Thomas, with a documentary he is making about an old mission station which is allegedly haunted. But the experience becomes an unnerving one for Lucinda, who finds Thomas' obsession with the story behind his film worrying. The Cutting Room is a novel at the intersection of three genres - a crime story, a ghost story and a love story.
Exhibit A by Sarah Lotz
Before the The Three and its follow up, Day Four - stories that were both freaky horrors and chilling thrillers - was Exhibit A. When a gorgeous stranger asks Georgie Allen - a Cape Town lawyer - for help after her sister accuses a policeman of raping her in a police cell, he's unable to resist another pro-bono case. Together with his sidekick Partrick McLennan and a tenacious mongrel, Georgie heads off to investigate. But things aren't as simple as they first appear, and the threesome soon find themselves enmeshed in a conspiracy of lies, small-town prejudice, corruption and bad coffee in their pursuit of ever-elusive truth and justice.
In True Murder, 11-year-old Ajuba from Ghana has been left at an English boarding school by her parents. There she befriends the new girl Polly Venus, and together with the other girls in her dorm they read 'true murder' stories and then act them out, trying to solve cases. Polly invites Ajuba to her family home, and Ajuba is introduced to her glamorous, but chaotic family. The girls still play their detective games at Polly's home, and end up making a discovery in the attic of the Venus home - leading to them trying to solve the mystery.