Women's Mystery Writing and Migration in the African Diaspora
| 1 →
In most detective fiction, the crime and its solving are the most crucial elements, followed, perhaps, by an intense criminal profile, an unveiling of the sleuth’s sublime inner machinations that allow him or her to problem-solve, and a detailed description of the landscape in which the detective operates. Such novels by black female writers invert these polarities as criminals are rarely profiled nor are they depicted as more than mundanely interesting. Instead, emphasis is placed on the environment that produces victims and aggressors, theft and survivors. So, we can say that often the transgression and the transgressor are secondary to the detective’s mapping of her turf, the territory which she knows best. I began this project to figure out why this trend holds sway, why there are few mastermind criminals or even memorable ones in black female mystery writing, why this deviation from the world of Holmes, Christie, and Hammett. My first assumption was that the major narrative strains in detective novels by black women would be survivor and mourning stories, lamentations over dead hopes and dreams, or gritty testimonials to the black world’s tenacity in the face of ongoing peril or a little of both, something akin to Stephen Soitos’ theory of the blues detective with a feminist or womanist slant. But, as I read these texts, different patterns began to emerge, and I discovered that this genre’s scope, as I view it, is more deeply rooted historically than the twentieth century when it emerged with...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.