We often hear talk of how crime fiction is the social novel of today. Many of the problems faced by society are reflected back to us through the books we read. However, diversity issues still plague this genre. Things are getting better and there are more representations of diversity in both authors and characters with each passing year, but we can still use more of these lesser-heard voices within the crime fiction community. As a way of supporting and encouraging, Lesa, Kristofer, and I decided to center our latest Triple Post on the subject of diversity. Fittingly, we each pinpointed and covered the topic in different ways. We hope that you will enjoy our posts and that it inspires you to try something new, something outside of your everyday box.
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When I pick up a book to read, the racial identity of the characters does not consciously come into play. I know they will most likely be Caucasian and if there is diversity in the book, they will be a police officer or a friend of a friend.
Recently I have discovered several books where the main protagonists were African-American women and in two of the books, they are portrayed as amateur sleuths. They were the same as their counterparts, inquisitive women who feels the prime suspect is innocent and they could do a better job in finding a killer. The third features a LAPD Homicide Detective whose on the street training gives her the one-up on the criminal element, creating a well-rounded person who I’m rooting for.
Mahalia Watkins Mystery Series
Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles (2015)
Murder with Macaroni and Cheese (August 30, 2016)
A.L. Herbert writes a cozy mystery that takes place at Mahalia’s Sweet Tea–the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Halia Watkins is the owner and her cousin Wavonne “works” at the restaurant and her momma bakes the desserts. The food is delicious and with murder served as the side dish, we get to see Halia do her thing in order to protect her cousin and save her business. I enjoyed all the Southern colloquialism dispersed in the book by the multitude of characters.
Eugeena Patterson Mystery Series
Shattered Dreams, A Short Story (2013)
Deep Fried Trouble (2013)
Oven Baked Secret (2015)
Lemon Filled Disaster (2017)
Tyora Moody pens a Christian cozy mystery series featuring Eugeena Patterson, a recently widowed and retired Social Studies teacher in North Charleston, South Carolina in the neighborhood called Sugar Creek. She is the mother of three and grandmother to four. Her life is disrupted when first she finds the body of an estrange friend and then the sudden appearance and disappearance of her youngest daughter who comes bearing not one, but two grand-babies, of which the second one is a surprise to this grandmother.
Detective Elouise Norton Mystery Series
Land of Shadows (2014)
Skies of Ash (2015)
Trail of Echoes (May 31, 2016)
Rachel Howzell Hall writes about Elouise “Lou” Norton, an African-American homicide detective who works in Los Angeles, California. I don’t know what it is like to be an LAPD Homicide Detective, but Rachel does a good job in bringing the words on the page to life and I can feel the character’s strength and vulnerability in these stories that tells more than what is being seen.
Diversity means different things to different people and I can’t wait to see what Lesa and Kristofer wrote on the topic. Thanks again for stopping by the blog today. Please journey over to BOLO’s Book and Lesa’s Book Critiques for further discussion of diversity in crime literature.