The detective novel is not only a great staple of the mystery genre, but it’s the kind of story that lends itself well to addressing social issues.
Many of my favorite books are private eye novels, in which the protagonist struggles not only with personal issues, but problems endemic to the society in which he or she lives.
Women are making great strides in this particular genre, because tough women have become increasingly popular in books, movies, and TV shows. However, can the same be said of black women? Well … maybe …
I recently tried watching “How to Get Away with Murder”, which apparently is a huge hit. It features a strong black female lead character – a law professor, who’s unconventional to say the least. It’s also extremely unrealistic to the point where I couldn’t bear to watch the pilot beyond … maybe Act 3.
I’d like to urge crime writers to please come up with a realistic and strong black female protagonist, who isn’t a cop. I’ve tried my best to give my character Sam McRae a realistic sidekick (who happens to be black) in Jamila Williams. But it isn’t for me to create a series around someone like Jamila. Or is it? In any case, please read the book and judge for yourself.
Finally, for your consideration, I highly recommend reading this article: The Case of the Disappearing Black Detective Novel by Sarah Weinman. Excellent reading!
As it happens, I’m currently reading Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes. I had no idea that Himes, like so many other black Americans had relocated to France!
I remember her as the kick-ass Foxy Brown! 🙂