Top Ten Underrated Books in Crime Fiction

This Top Ten Tuesday is very special, because it has allowed me to rescue those titles that I have reviewed since I started this blog back in 2011 and that I think, crime fiction fans should read, but that for unknown reasons were not as popular or as well-known as they should. So, let’s begin the crime fiction archeology!


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. The Dinosaur Feather by Sisel-Jo Gazan.- This Danish crime novel takes place in a university and a PhD candidate in paleontology sees herself involved in the solving of a crime. Not your usual setting or your usual main character, but a very interesting book. Review here.


2. Case Histories by Kate Aktinson.- The first in the Jackson Brodie series, it presents ex-military man turned-detective Jackson Brodie. Since there is an arc in the character development in the series, I think this is the perfect place to start reading Atkinson’s crime fiction. Review here.


3. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson.- The second in the Jackson Brodie series, this novel explores what doing good and doing bad means and how, although we have a choice in live, past events dictate how and what we will choose. Review here.


4. Unwanted by Christina Olsson.- This Swedish crime novel presents the reader with a very dark and twisted case (beware!), but Olsson explores human psychology in-depth and presents us with a young female detective. Review here.


5. Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly.– I promise to stop raving about this book one day, but not until it becomes a best-seller. Daly takes domestic crime fiction to nowadays England and explores how a mother, wife and working woman does her best to detect. Review here.


6. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (ed. Sarah Weinman).- Did you know that there are crime fiction short stories? And did you know that Gillian Flynn did not invent domestic crime fiction with Gone Girl? And that they are ace? Sarah Weinman compiles the best short stories from the mid-20th century. A must-read. Review here.


7. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell.– The first in the Kay Scarpetta series, published in 1990 and currently quite out-of-fashion. There was a time DNA in crime solving was a dream. And there were no mobile phones, or IP addresses. And they still solved crimes in a modern setting. Review here.


8. Chilled to the Bone by Quentin Bates.- I discovered Bates’ detective series last May and I fell in love with its main character, Gunna Gisladottir. It is no longer for a detective to be troubled, depressed, an alcoholic or a freak. Gunna is a working woman, mother and wife that tries to juggle it all together. Review here.


9. Linda, as in the Linda Murder by Leif G.W Persson.- A victim that was being trained to be a policewoman and a misogynist, middle-age policeman that investigates the crime. But what does ‘investigate’ mean apart from tearing the victim’s life apart, not always leaving gender and social class prejudices behind? Review here.


10 Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.– This is already a best-seller, but I insist on seeing behind the school and domestic setting and the three female characters. This is a great crime fiction novel, do not let yourself be told otherwise. Review here.


Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Crime Fiction

I am very excited by this Top Ten Tuesday because although I am not sure there are many people out there who haven’t ever read crime fiction. But I know there are people who are not that into it. So, these ten books are IT. They are the best crime fiction, the most representative, the ones with the best characters. And above all, the ones that will get you hooked on the genre.

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.-  This was the book that got me hooked on crime fiction when I was 12 and I have been trying to solve murders ever since. I think it is, along with Scandhal in Bohemia where Ms. Adler gives a masterful performance, the best Sherlock Holmes. You an now read it for free here.

2. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson.- This is the third on the Jackson Brodie series, but don’t mind the order. One of the main characters in this novel makes for the most inspiring women in crime fiction I have ever read. Maybe what you’re going through in your life is not as bad as a crime, but there is some wisdom here.

3. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell.- This is the first in the Kay Scarpetta series and was published back in 1990. If you have ever watched CSI, this novel will surprise you: no DNA, no mobile phones, no technology. Crime solving in the early 90’s was neither as easy nor as fashionable as it is said to be now.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.- The first one in the Millenium series, I almost didn’t read it because all the hype surrounding the books. How silly! It is one great example of Scandinavian crime fiction.

5. Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. Daly’s second novel was published this year and it clearly shows the author’s talent at including crime-solving in the domestic, middle-class English life. No interrogation rooms, no footprints. This is a mom and a wife fighting for everything she cares for.

6. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.- No one ever doubted J.K. Rowling’s writing talent, but her incursion in crime fiction shows that she is a wizzard of words in her own right.

7. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives by various authors. Ed. by Sarah Weinman.- Weinman has collected the best crime fiction short stories from the 1960’s to the 1970’s and has put them together. I had no idea there had been so many women writing crime short stories, but they were all amazing. It was one of the best books I read last year.

8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.- This is an obvious choice as well, but Flynn’s novel only has die-hard fans or die-hard haters. I am one of the fans and I think she wrote a very different, very interesting crime novel from two different perspectives.

9. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.- Could you imagine a crime fiction sequel to Pride and Prejudice? Me neither, but P.D James has made a masterpiece of it. Same was with Gone Girl, this novel will force you take sides.

10. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.- When teenager Grace is accused of killing her employer and two fellow co-workers, she finds herself caught in the 19th century Canadian legal system where you’d rather be crazy than guilty. Or both? Or none? Read this masterpiece and see if you can find out the truth about Grace.

Bonus! 11. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Morton’s novels have a gothic, 19th century feel to them even though they are set in the present. Usually, a family mystery or a crime needs to be solved by a non-professional young woman investigator.

Top Ten Favorite (Crime) TV Shows

I am sucker for crime fiction, in any form and that includes TV shows. I usually joke that I spend way too much watching TV, and not all of it is crime fiction, but I would say a great majority is. So, here you have my ten favourite crime TV shows. I decided to list those that have been broadcasted for a while, are easy to find and basically mean “comfort TV”.


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. Castle.- A crime fiction writer follows a strong, opinionated and super cool NYPD Homicide female detective. Is there anything not to love about this?


2. Bones.- Love Temperance’s passion for her job. Also, I don’t think we were that familiar with forensic anthropology before we met her, were we?


 3. CSI: NY.- My favourite on the CSI series. This is the most comfortable you can get watching crime TV shows. But, nothing works like it to relax and unplug from daily life’s worries and struggles. I can’t believe it’s no longer in the air…


4. Rizzoli & Isles.- This may actually be my favourite on the list (or second, see number 6). A medical examiner and a Boston homicide detective work hand-in-hand to solve crimes. One is blonde, the other is brunette. One is super brainy, the other is super practical. I actually wrote my MA thesis on them.


5. Code 37.– I just recently discovered this Belgian TV show with one of the most complex, complete and kick-ass female detectives I have ever seen. Hannah Maes has taken female detectives to yet another level.


6. The Closer.– My another favourite show. Brenda Leigh Johnson is transferred from Atlanta, Georgia, to the Los Angeles Police Department where her Southern accent, charm and ways seem to crash with her new – all male – subordinates. But she is so good, she finds a way.


7. Criminal MInds.– I really like this show, but after a few episodes I feel uneasy. Some of the themes are too dark and twisted, but they cases are really good and interesting.


8. Law & Order: SVU.- The Special Victim Units centers on sexual assault and crimes. I know it sounds pretty dark, but they treat the victims with total respect and the show has helped inscribe sexual violence and the need to denounce it on TV. Good job!


9. Crossing Jordan.- I first saw this TV show when I was 16 and I thought I would totally rock at being a medical examiner (clue: not sure, probably not). Dr. Jordan Cavannaugh moves back to Boston where she gets involved with her victims’ police investigations.


10. Law & Order: UK.- If there was a way to make Law & Order even better, it was moving it to London. I was not familiar at all with British laws and procedures, so I was really happy to learn a bit while watching the breath-taking London landscapes.


Top Ten Books On My Summer To-Be-Read list

I have long waited for this post. I have great reading plans for the summer, basically to keep myself busy and therefore, sane. But time will tell if I do any of the readings here, because it’s a pretty ambitious and heavy list 🙂


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.- I cannot call myself a feminist without having read this masterpiece. Also, after some talking I realized that my own ideas pretty much follow de Beauvoir’s without me knowing it.


2. The Murder of Roger Acrkoyd by Agatha Christie.- I read somewhere that this story has the best and most unexpected ending ever. I got the e-book, so I will be using my e-reader with whom I have a love-hate relationship.


3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.- In Confessions of a Sociopath, the author described Cathy as a psychopath. I have no idea what the book is about, but I can’t wait to get to know one of America’s most well-known and loved novels.


4. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.- Everyone I trust loves Wolitzer, so it is about time that I give her a try.


5. The Magus by John Fowles.- This was a compulsory reading for my Modern English Literature course and I didn’t finish it, although I did a lot of reasearch to cover up for not having read it. Back then I thought I didn’t have the time, so what will happen now that I have it?


6. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.- I loved The Cuckoo’s Calling and I’ve been promised a review copy by the publishers.


7. My Baby Shot me Down (anthology).- Last week I was sent an email by the publisher offering me this anthology containing prose and verse by ten new women authors. I can’t wait to discover new talent!


8. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.- Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, recommended this to me and my wonderful boyfriend bought it for me. The problem? It is so inspiring I just wished to write and write and during the academic year I found this impossible. This summer I do hope to do some creative writing.


9. Something by Margaret Atwood.- Because she’s so amazing and inspiring. I am afraid of running out of Margaret Atwood titles to read, but it’s been more than two years since I read one of her novels.


10. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.- Another American classic, this time written by a woman and with a female main character. I know almost nothing about the story, but since I love the South so much, I know I need to read this as soon as possible. Also, I got the 75th anniversary edition and it’s wonderful.


Top Ten Tuesday: Female Characters I admire

I thought it was time to join The Broke and the Bookish’ Top Ten Tuesdays again and this one just felt so right!

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I decided to choose Top Ten Characters that I admire because of lately I have been more and more inspired by bookish characters. So, here they are:

1. Irene Adler, from the Sherlock Holmes canon by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.- THE woman. Need I say more?

2. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, from the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.- She is a hard-working, strong, independent, very clever, very smart and powerful woman. She is also a workaholic, so it is easy to feel comfort in her lack of sleeping and no-time-for-eating schedule when I am overworked.

3. Coroner Jenny Cooper, from The Coroner by M.R. Hall .- Another strong, independent woman, but with a dark side. She also has dark, long hair and loves fashion.

4. Dr. Temperance Brennan, created by Kathy Reich.- Ok, so I admit my knowledge of Dr. Brennan comes from the TV show Bones rather than the books. But I think she is amazing nevertheless!

5. Grace Marks, from Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.- Grace is your typical 19th century inmate. Or is she not?

6. All the ladies from Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.- The sisterhood these ladies created to help and support each other is just marvellous.

7. Eve Dalladay, from Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly.- She is a modern femme fatale verging on psychopath.

8. Ursula Todd, from Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.- Even though she was not conscious of it, I learned about the many ways life can go on and how it is okay to live your own life in your own terms.

9. Louise Monroe from When will There be Good News by Kate Atkinson.- A great detective and an average mother and partner judging by the patriarchy.

10. Esther Greenwood, from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.- Another female character from which I learned it is fine to want it all and nothing at the same time. But, above all, I learned the right to be confused by society’s expectations of women.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend To Anyone Interested in Feminism

I haven’t joined a Top Ten Tuesday for a long time now and suddenly I just needed to make a list. So, I checked today’s theme and it just fits perfectly. Since this blog is mostly devoted to crime fiction and women writers/women’s representation, I would like to list the top 10 books anyone interested in feminism or women’s representation in fiction should read. Ready? Go!

November 19: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend To Anyone Interested in Feminism / Women’s Representation


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.- This can be a little bit dry but Woof deals with issues that are sadly still relevant nowadays like women’s need to own time and space (and the money to buy it) so that they can develop their creativity.

2. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.- Atwood is a well-known feminist writer and a genius. So, if this psychological novel with thriller features is the perfect book to get to know her huge body of work.

3. Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell.- This book contains the biography of 6 real-life women who revolutionized the early 20th century. Is there something more inspiring than a real life role model?

4. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.- Did you know that according to Dickens Elizabeth Gaskell was as good as a writer as he himself? However, she has long since lost her status. Cranford is the story of a little town populated only by women. A joy to read, also light-hearted and very optimistic.

5. Life After Life by Kate Aktinson.- Do you think I can write a TTT without mentioning Kate Atkinson? It would be impossible. In her last novel (2013) she explores the many lives of Ursula Todd who dies and is given the opportunity to live her life again as many times as she needs although she is not conscious of this. So, her life constitutes a summary of the many lives a woman born in the early 20th century could have led.

6. Anything on the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell .- Her books are considered the pop-corn version of crime fiction, but many fail to see that Cornwell created an inspiring, workaholic and obsessive doctor and detective that will hit home with many hard-working and modern women.

7. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.- This novel propelled Atkinson to fame back in 1996 but also earned her some harsh criticism for her – supposed – hatred for men and desire to create aan all-female society. Totally false, but a true feminist vindication that, in my opinion, could rival Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

8. The Awakening by Kate Chopin.- A well-known feminist classic, this short novel explores the main’s characters ambitions beyond being a wife and a mother in the late 19th-century Southern society.

9. The Yellow Wallpaperr by Charlotte Perkins-Gillman.- Another 19th-century jewel – this time a short story available here – exploring the treatment of postpartum depression and the social, medical and personal considerations of this recently explored illness.

10. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense by Sarah Weinman.- A collection of short stories by women from the mid-20th century that have now been forgotten. A pure joy.

All these works are written by women and I think it is very important for anyone willing to explore feminism and/or women’s representation to acknowledge that what we are taught men’s works and their points of view. It is then, key to explore women’s own representation of themselves, their counterparts and the society they live in.

Top Ten Favourite Quotes

Another Tuesday, another Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish!


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Just of lately I’ve been collecting quotes from my favourite books, so these will come as no surprise to those who know what kind of books I like. I think it’s also important to share why I loved the quotes because although they are meaningful in themselves, they appealed directly to some moment or some part of my life.

1. On enjoying the processes more than merely achieving your goal just to move to the next one. Overachievers will know what I’m talking about!

  • From Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

“We all get on”, Sylvie said, “one way or another. And in the end we all arrive at the same place. I hardly see that it matters how we get there.”

It seemed to Ursula that how you get there was the whole point, but there was nothing to be gained from arguing with Sylvie on the days she was mired in gloom.

(p. 238)

2. On the importance of finding balance between work and leisure.

  • From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott:

“You may try your experiment for a week, and see how you like it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play and no work is as bad as all work and no play.”

3. On overworrying, how it leads to nothing and how destructive it can be.

  • From Howards End by E.M Forster:

“She could not explain in so many words, but she felt that those who prepare for all the emergencies of life beforehand may equip themselves at the expense of joy.”

4. The reason why I love Atkinson’s books. Just yesterday I spent my whole day watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and when I finally opened Started Early, Took my Dog (by Atkinson too) do you know what I found? A reference to L&O: SVU.

  • From When Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

“A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen”

5. On tackling your problems one by one. This came particularly handy when a beloved one was sick and we couldn’t think beyond that night.

  • From Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy:

“There was no answer, except the general answer life gives to all the most complex and insoluble questions. That answer is: one must live for the needs of the day, in other words, become oblivious.”

6. On growing up in a society that still expects certain things from women and the struggle to discover if you – as an individual completely aware of her self and able to make good decisions – want those things or not.

  • From The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath:

“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”

7.Words have always been special to me having always known that I was a reader and a writer. As time went by, I found I can only make sense of certain things if I can put them into words the same way one only and truly understands something if they can explain it to another person.

  • From Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson:

“In the end, it is my belief, words are the only things that can construct a world that makes sense.”

8. On the reassuring fact that we are subjects in control of our decisions and how we can craft our own identities.

  • From Life After Life by Kate Atkinson:

“He was born a politician.
No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.”

9. On enjoying the unexpectable which actually translates as being open to change and adapt yourself to the situation. The survival of the fittest and all that.

  • From The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood:

“If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you’d be doomed. You’d be ruined as God. You’d be a stone. You’d never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You’d never love anyone, ever again. You’d never dare to.”

10.Our own thoughts can sometimes be… overwhelming. No need to worry!

  • From Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood:

 “If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.”