Sisters in Crime Book Bloggers Challenge

Posted: August 24, 2011 in Agatha Christie, Introduction

 Sisters in Crime Book Bloggers Challenge is to celebrate 25 years of Sisters in Crime, “a non-profit organization to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.” You can read all the details about the challenge at Barbara Fisters Place.

I am not one for challenges or memes, as I now want to read without any constraints or time limits, but living so close to Agatha Christie’s home at Greenway I can’t resist participating informally. 

The phrase ‘Sisters in Crime’ reminds me my mother was one of SEVEN sisters; en masse they were a formidable group, all with slightly different personalities. Sadly only one sister, well into her 90s, remains from a family of eleven children.

I also remember that in October 2006, in the early days of Crime Scraps, I was intrigued to read a post from thriller/mystery critic David J. Montgomery entitled “10 Greatest Detective Novels”. If you follow the link you will see not only were all the novels written by men, but by North American men. You don’t have to be a member of Sisters in Crime to challenge that selection process. Over the next few months I shall be posting about books by some of my favourite women crime fiction writers including:

Ruth Rendell, whose earlier Wexfords revived my interest in crime fiction, Donna Leon, whose books are always a pleasure to read, Maj Sjowall the Godmother of Swedish crime fiction and Asa Larsson one of her metaphorical daughters. 

The photo shows the front of Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home on the River Dart in Devon.  

  1. Maxine says:

    I remember we had fun with that 10 greatest list, Norman! In fact this was the very time when, via you, I learned of the existence of Maj Sjowall and Fred Vargas 😉

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – Your mother was one of seven sisters? I’m sure that must have been formidable. I’ll look forward to your coming posts…. And thanks for the lovely ‘photo. You have camera talent.

  3. Norman says:

    And on the back of that I have been basking in glory, and sneakily plagiarizing your stuff for the past five years. ;o

  4. Norman says:

    Maxine, how do you do those faces? 😉

  5. Norman says:

    Ah managed it!

    Margot-my uncle, who sadly died last year aged 86,had the seven older sisters, two daughters, and five granddaughters, but lived long enough to see his twin great grandsons.

  6. Ten great writers, and NO WOMEN? They must surely be the second-best 😉

  7. Norman says:

    Dorte-I seem to remember he got well and truly hammered by our Maxine. 🙂

  8. Maxine says:

    Yes, we had a few laughs over that.

    Funny, Norman, I thought just the same about the faces on Bernadette’s blog ages ago, and now I have WordPress can do it too 😉

    here is one of our ripostes: (Norman, feel free to plagiarise me or any commenter or yourself as a commenter!).

  9. Maxine says:

    PS My Grandad on my father’s side had 8 sisters. The youngest one was about the same age as my Dad.

  10. Norman says:

    Maxine-that list of yours must have got him thinking.

    Eight! The poor women of that era who had so many pregnancies spread over so many years.In my mother’s family, my uncle the youngest died last year aged 86, and he was only a very few years older than his eldest sister’s daughter. He was born in 1924, and his oldest brother was born in 1899, and he like so many others was killed in the First World War, his oldest sister was born in 1901.

  11. Maxine says:

    I think only one of the eight (Doris) married, and they had no children. Only my Grandad had children, two boys, my dad (who died 4 years ago) and my Uncle Pete 8 years after my dad – he has just died a couple of months ago. They were an odd family, eg one of their favourite stories was how my Dad took Pete shopping when both boys were young, Pete being in a pushchair, and my Dad forgot he had a brother and left him behind in a shop. This was a cause of great mirth. Really, very strange now recalling this story as an adult. (They all came from Leicester, I don;t know if this is relevant.)

  12. Kerrie says:

    Well done Norman. Being from a family of 2, I was always staggered by my friend’s family. She was 12th of 13. Her mother had children over a period of 35+ years. There was always great mirth at the fact that her young brother aged 9 had great nieces who were older than him.

  13. kathy d. says:

    Thanks for this post. And I read Maxine’s historical post about women crime fiction writers, which should be sent far and wide, as the problem being addressed still exists. I read a “best of crime fiction” a few years ago, posted on a well-read mystery book, and I counted one woman among about 30 authors/books listed. It was Nina Revoyr’s book The Age of Dreaming, which is a terrific book; it deals with anti-Japanese bigotry in the U.S. beginning during WWI. The crime element is a fraction of the plot, but the book is very good. So this issue still occurs.

    I’m sure that Sisters in Crime has helped women authors gain readers and has helped to popularize them. In the States, this group has done a lot of good in promoting women writers. However, the job is far from complete.

    My grandmother passed away at 98 in 1983. She was the oldest of 13 children born in what is referred to as the Pale of Russia, where Jewish people were deliberately sent by the czar(ina). Six died of typhus, and the others came to the States. But my grandmother, who had a backbone of steel and fortunately had good health. She survived typhus and also tetanus in 1915, when no one survived it. She was the matriarch of the family and ruled the roost.

  14. What an interesting array of comments this post has generated, I love tangents.

    In our family there is always much mirth made of the fact my mother is an only child, because her father was one of 12 and her mother one of 13…it seems they’d both had enough of large families.

    I shall look forward to reading your posts about your favourite women crime writers…I sometimes struggle with the notion that there is a need for ‘women only’ groups/awards as I like to think we are taken on our merits but when I’m reminded that someone can create a list such as the one you mentioned above then I guess there is still a need for such exclusionary categories. Sad to think there are many people (women included) who are naturally averse to reading books by women.

  15. kathy d. says:

    When I first started reading mystery book blogs, I read an article by a woman writer in a British newspaper. She reported on speaking to some male book reviewers — making this even worse — who don’t ever read books by women writers.
    When I see book award nominees’ lists, I still see categories with only books by male writers. Lots of changes still to be made.

  16. Norman says:

    Thanks for all these stories, Maxine , Kathy, Kerrie and Bernadette.
    “Forgot his little brother and left him behind in a shop.”
    My father always told the story that his little brother would frequently wet himself in class, and he would be sent for to leave his class and take little brother home totally disrupting his schooling. It was his explanation for the fact that during the war he was only a driver/private in the RASC, while little brother ended up as a Lieutenant Colonel in the RAMC. Mind you little brother many years later joked that when he was on the Anzio bridgehead in 1944 he was still wetting himself, but I expect there he was not alone.

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