Review: After Agatha by Sally Cline

Title: After Agatha – Women Write Crime

Author: Sally Cline

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Oldcastle Books

The Blurb

From Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith to Val McDermid and JK Rowling, After Agatha is an indispensable guide to women’s crime writing over the last century and an exploration of why women read crime

Spanning the 1930s to present day, After Agatha charts the explosion in women’s crime writing and examines key developments on both sides of the Atlantic: from the women writers at the helm of the UK Golden Age and their American and Canadian counterparts fighting to be heard, to the 1980s experimental trio, Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, who created the first female PIs, and the more recent emergence of forensic crime writing and domestic noir thrillers such as Gone Girl and Apple Tree Yard.

After Agatha examines the diversification of crime writing and highlights landmark women’s novels which featured the marginalised in society as centralised characters.

Cline also explores why women readers are drawn to the genre and seek out justice in crime fiction, in a world where violent crimes against women rarely have such resolution.

The book includes interviews with dozens of contemporary authors such as Ann Cleeves, Sophie Hannah, Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs and features the work of hundreds of women crime and mystery writers.

It is an essential read for crime fiction lovers.

The Review

I am not really a reader of crime fiction and I have to admit I have never read an Agatha Christie novel (I feel like I need to had back by book club membership card. That being said, I am the perfect audience for crime novels because the ones that I have read have completely floored me. I have been flabbergasted and shocked and totally outfoxed by the writer. I never predict the ending and everything is a shock to me. I am the audience that a crime writer wants to read their book.

I went into After Agatha really looking for direction into what authors I should read to get fully immersed in the genre. I got that which is good but I also got a full rounded education into the reasons why people, women in particular, like crime fiction. It was truly fascinating. And whilst that element was really interesting, how the various writers deal with brutality and crime was equally engaging and gave me more focus on whose work I would like to read.

This is a great read if you are looking for your next crime series.

After Agatha by Sally Cline is available now.

For more information regarding Oldcastle Books (@OldcastleBooks) please visit

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