Literature for Bloodthirsty Women


Judith y Holofernes, 1819-1923, Francisco Goya.

Judith y Holofernes, 1819-1923, Francisco Goya.

Isn’t it amazing that women, and especially older women, are the majority among readers of crime. Why?

Are we especially bloodthirsty? Do we harbor secret ambitions for murder and mayhem? Are we angrier than other segments of society? Surely not. Young men are far and away the most murderous among us. So what gives? Why are women so happy reading about the violent and their comeuppance?

(I’ve never used that word––comeuppance—before! I must do it more often.)

Elizabeth George (the British writer of mysteries) suggests in the introduction to her book of short crime fiction by women, A Moment on the Edge, that “Crime literature gives us a satisfaction that we are often denied in life.” In murder mysteries, we are spared the ambiguities of real life where the villain often gets away with it.

I can see that women might be especially glad to see justice served. Older women might be even gladder for it, having spent more years as victims.

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