Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Our heroines

I've read two books back to back with female P.I.s, strong, independent ones. But they couldn't be further apart. In The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith, we have Aud Torvingen, an ex-cop who teaches defense classes and is always on the defense herself. More than that, she verges on the edge of being a sociopath herself. She likes to be in "the blue place," the place she's transported when she becomes violent. She's a cold person, not the kind you want to meet in a dark alley unless she's a friend. But despite this (or because of it), the book really draws you in. The writing is also quite wonderful, very lyrical. Takes place in Atlanta and Norway.

Birth Marks by Sarah Dunant is my type of book. For starters, it's set in London (and Paris). For mysteries, you can't do better than an English setting, in my mind. Here we have Hannah Wolfe, who is hired to find a missing dancer and then hired to find out why she drowned in a river -- was it suicide or murder? I love Hannah's quips: "Funny how time flies when you're breaking the law," as she breaks the law by picking a lock and entering an apartment. I love that she tries to pick up a guy in a bar and, of course, he's someone who's been following her. And that, nervous over said guy, she pokes herself in the eye with her mascara brush. She's smart, yet vulnerable. The book is also a good commentary on greed and corruption. This is one author I want to keep reading. In fact, Dunant speaks about another book that has just joined my must-read list, Transgressions.

1 comment:

Tania said...

I like your comparison of the two books. I also recently read them (4MA!), but hadn't compared the two characters. You're right of course - they're both strong and independent PIs, but the similarities pretty much stop there.

I'll definitely be reading the follow-up to Birth Marks.