Can a gumshoe wear high heels? In a genre long dominated by men, women are now taking their place-as authors and as characters-alongside hardboiled legends like Sam Spade and Mike Hammer. "Hardboiled and High Heeled" examines the meteoric rise of the female detective in contemporary film, television, and literature.
Epitomized by such icons as Clarice Starling of "Silence of the Lambs," Agent Scully of "The X-Files," and Cagney and Lacey, and the heroines in best-selling novels by Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell, the woman detective has become a top-selling commodity with a hungry fan base. The number of female investigator novels has tripled every five years since 1985. Today, there are nearly 700 women writers of detective fiction, and more than 800 book series devoted to female detectives. In this book, Linda Mizejewski - author of "Ziegfeld Girl" - examines the far-reaching appeal of the woman detective. She argues that the female detective attracts a wide range of fans - straight and gay, male and female - by rebuking tradition and overturning gender stereotypes.
Richly illustrated and written with a fan's love of the genre, "Hardboiled and High Heeled" is an essential introduction to women in detective fiction, from past to present, from pulp fiction to blockbuster films.
"This intellectually rigorous history dishes out the bad with the good."
"[S]timulating, well-written, and well argued."
"A light-hearted, accessible feminist account of the female detective....The central argument of this book is that the 'female dick'--as her very name suggests--is a profoundly unnatural figure whose very existence challenges the conventions of genre and gender."
-Rachel Adams, author of "Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination
"Witty, thorough, and smart, Hardboiled and High Heeled is that rare thing in feminist cultural studies--an exploration of fans' pleasures in fiction, film, and television that is itself a pleasure to read."
-Lisa Maria Hogeland, author of "Feminism and Its Fictions
"Weaving together film, popular fiction, and television, "Hardboiled and High Heeled reveals the power and significance of the female investigator within popular culture. Passionate, eloquent, and intelligent, Mizejewski's study is exemplary feminist scholarship."
-Yvonne Tasker, University of East Anglia