Lesbian Detective Fiction

Woman as Author, Subject and Reader


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About the Book

This work examines how lesbian detective and mystery fiction represents lesbian characters and experience within the confines of the genre. As this book points out, such fiction reveals the lesbian’s increasing visibility in the wider society. Nevertheless, it can still be difficult to find a complete representation of lesbian life in mainstream literature. Often the best place to find the lesbian represented in books is within the pages of genre fiction—especially the detective story.

This book looks at how the lesbian characters’ public and private lives intersect—often at the point of coming out, or of moving from isolation to connection with the community. Also considered is the lesbian detective’s typical confrontation with two crucial elements of the investigator’s role: the use of violence and the acquisition and expression of authority within police systems. Other topics of discussion include the cultural environments in which the stories are situated, and the use of humor as a key weapon in the lesbian detective’s investigative arsenal.

About the Author(s)

Phyllis M. Betz is a professor emerita of English from La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She lives in Burlington, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Phyllis M. Betz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 207
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2548-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction: Reading Lesbians, Reading Mystery      1
List of Authors and Characters      15

1. Solving Crime, Resolving Passion      17
2. Having Sex, Finding Love      40
3. Playing the Boys’ Game      67
4. Lesbian Tough Guys      92
5. Marginal Values      119
6. Real Time, Gay Time      144

Conclusion: Gathering the Evidence      171
Chapter Notes      177
Works Cited      187
Index      195

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Highly recommended”—Choice
  • “Structure and approach…are quite cohesive”—Feminist Collections
  • “Well-written, thoroughly researched”—Journal of Popular Culture