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Ladies Detective Fiction 2.0

Ladies Detective Fiction 2.0

Hannah Oliver Depp

Four Mondays (every other week):
April 8, April 22, May 6, May 20, 1-3 p.m.

Price: $100 ($90 members)

Required Books:
Talking About Detective Fiction, PD James
Unsuitable Job for a Woman
, PD James
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R King
Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspeare
The Likeness, Tana French


REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

“I know what you're thinking - that anybody with proper sensitive feelings would rather scrub floors for a living. But I should scrub floors very badly, and I write detective stories rather well. I don't see why proper feelings should prevent me from doing my proper job.”

---Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

Since Anna Katherine Greene, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and their peers put pen to paper to become bestselling authors, hundreds of women have made their living writing detective stories. In this class we will examine the tropes of the detective genre and how women authors bend such traditions to address the issues of the modern and postmodern age. Looking at 20th century women’s history and the theoretical works of PD James, Peter Brooks & James Guetti we’ll examine how detective fiction both entertains us and causes us to question our cultural assumptions. Has the stigma against women and crime changed? Are female authors considered “soft” compared to their male counterparts? What happens when a woman writes a female versus a male detective? Are female detectives just the Watson to a shadowy Holmes-like mentor? And how do we view a deliberate rewrite of the detective canon or history itself? Finally, we will consider how these post-golden age authors were influenced by their predecessors and how they defy them.


Hannah Oliver Depp is a bookseller at Politics & Prose. She received her M.A. in Literature from American University. She has presented on detective fiction as it relates to existentialism at the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Conference, and on mystery authors at the National Popular Culture Association. She has also presented on modern medievalism and King Arthur, which was the subject of her graduate research, at the International Medieval Conference. She has taught two women’s history seminars at Carson-Newman College as well as served as a T.A. & research assistant at American University. Her passion is to foster discussion of classic literature in light of their societal settings and the impact they have had upon the popular imagination.

Promotional Period: 
Apr 8 2013 - May 20 2013

ISBN-13: 9780307743138
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 5/2011

ISBN-13: 9780743219556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone, 4/2001

ISBN-13: 9780312427368
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Picador, 10/2007

Maisie Dobbs (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780142004333
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 6/2004

The Likeness (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780143115625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 5/2009