Spanish (and Catalan) “femicrime” authors

An article by Carles Geli written in the context of BCNegra 2014 presented femicrime authors and their detectives and discussed the differences of crime novels written by female authors in comparison with traditional (male) crime fiction. Some insights are reproduced here:

Spanish and Catalan authors and their recent works (if mentioned):

Alicia Giménez Bartlett (Almansa, 1951; Wikipedia), a pioneer on the Spanish scene with her detective Petra Delicado: 9 novels so far, three novels available in English (according to;

Berna González Harbour (Santander, 1965; a journalist with a managing position at El País), Margen de error [Error margin], investigator: María Ruiz, tech-savvy;

Dolores Redondo (San Sebastian, 1969; homepage), Legado en los huesos [Legacy in the bones], detective: Amaia Salazar, cf. post.

Rosa Ribas (El Prat de Llobregat, 1963), comisaria Cornelia Weber-Tejedor;

Teresa Solana (Barcelona, 1962), La casa de les papallones [The butterfly house], investigator: Norma Forester;  first Spanish writer nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe awards, four titles in English available on;

Anna Maria Villalonga (professor at U of Barcelona), Elles també maten [They {women} also kill], a study of the phenomenon.

Principal differences in comparison to male authors:

Less gore and fewer entrails. Detectives more concentrated on the details of daily life. Crimes with a social background. A bigger interest in the motivations behind the crime, the human and psychological dimensions, than in the details of the crime itself. Female murderers have different motivations than male ones: self-defence (of themselves or their families) or vengeance for suffering in the past. In general, the female detectives are not as burdened with alholism, smoking and (other) autodestructive behavior as their male counterparts. They are often “special” as to their ethnic origin, sexual behavior, education, … sometimes “exotic”. Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander is presented as a positive example.

In comparison with the Nordic countries, there are few Mediterranean female crime fiction writers. The experts consulted by Geli see the reasons for this in the Catholic tradition and, in the case of Spain, in the long lasting dictatorship that prevented authors such as P.D. James from being read (and emulated) there. In contrast to this there are a lot of male Spanish authors that have female protagonists, though Giménez Bartlett criticizes them for being created as either “vamps or über-intelligent, totally archetypical”. Female authors tend to portray their male detectives as less violent than male authors. And one still ubiquitous phenomenon: the victims are female.

Sources: El País Jan. 31, 2014 + cited websites


One thought on “Spanish (and Catalan) “femicrime” authors

  1. Pingback: Snippet: Planeta prize to Giménez Bartlett | literary rambles

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