Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Book Lists

Caterina Edwards on Lady Sleuths

What turns the reader of a mystery into a fan of a series? Compelling plots, good prose, and an evocative setting? Suspense? Certainly, but for me the ranking of these elements depends on my mood. What never changes is the need for an appealing sleuth. I began reading a number of Canadian mysteries featuring female sleuths only after I finished The Sicilian Wife and had created Marisa De Luca, the newly appointed police chief of a station house in Alcamo, Sicily. I say "created," but the experience of writing Marisa was more discovering than making. She sprang from my subconscious fully formed; I simply had to pay attention. But when I considered continuing Marisa’s story in a sequel, I needed to figure out what worked and what didn’t. A detective who has her own series must be distinct in her talents, tastes, sidekicks, and stomping grounds, while sharing the characteristics of curiosity and foolhardiness. The genre demands she put herself in harm’s way. Marisa dares to challenge the local Mafia boss without the support of her men, who resent and resist her, and despite the orders of her mentor and superior.

by Kerry Clare · Tagged lady sleuths, mysteries