Atomic Renaissance: American Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s and 1950s.


To enhance my previous post ‘Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s and 1950s’, I’ve came across with Jeffrey Marks’ book Atomic Renaissance: American Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s and 1950s.(Delphi Books, 2010).

51hjVIjRyhLAmerica in the 1950s was a place of Eisenhower, the Korean Conflict, McCarthy, and Sputnik. Women found themselves trapped into a mold of Donna Reed and June Cleaver, marginalized by the hyper-masculinity of the age. Mystery fiction had become a male bastion as well, promoting hardboiled private eye novels and spy fiction. It would be another three decades before groups to promote equality between the sexes in mystery fiction appeared.
Yet during that post-World War II era, seven women carved out a place in the genre. These women became the bestsellers of their time by innovation and experimentation. Margaret Millar, Patricia Highsmith, Leslie Ford, Charlotte Armstrong, Dorothy B. Hughes, Mignon Eberhart, and Phoebe Atwood Taylor are in no way similar to each other in style, theme, or subject matter. However, their writings created an Atomic Renaissance that continues to impact the mystery field today.

Mainly a couple of authors to add to my previous list Leslie Ford (1898-1983), and Mignon G. Eberhart (1899 – 1996).

About the Author: Jeffrey Marks (born October 8, 1960) is an American author. Marks is best known for the series of literary criticisms he has written on American mystery authors of the middle Twentieth Century. His first work, Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice; Queen of the Screwball Mystery (Delphi Books, 2001), was nominated for every major mystery award including the Edgar, the Agatha, the Anthony and the Macavity. Marks’ next work was Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s (Delphi Books, 2010), which again was nominated for an Agatha. Marks then wrote Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel, which is now in its fourth edition. He became the moderator of Murder Must Advertise, a website and email group that discusses the best ways to market genre fiction in a changing marketplace. His next work, Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography (McFarland & Company, 2008), a biography and bibliography of the American author, won an Anthony Award in 2009 for Best Biographical/Critical work. He has completed a biography of mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner, the author who created Perry Mason among other characters and has published a monograph on the pulp fiction works of Gardner, entitled Pulp Icons: Erle Stanley Gardner and His Pulp Magazine Characters (2013). He is currently working on a biography of the collaborative cousins who wrote as Ellery Queen. Marks is also a contributing editor to Mystery Scene Magazine and was the director of development for the mystery book publisher Crippen & Landru, taking over the role of publisher in 2018 from Douglas G. Greene. (Source: Wikipedia)

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