In July of this year, the ladies at The Socratic Salon were discussing reading inside or outside the box? In response, I wrote that while I do feel the pressure to be a well-rounded reader, instead of giving into the pressure completely, I am attempting to be more diverse within the genre I read, which is crime fiction, than I have been in the past.
Since then, I have read 18 books that I qualify as diverse crime fiction meaning that the authors are non-white or non-male authors, many with origins from another country. I thought with this post, I'd highlight a few of my favorite authors and series I've come across that fit that criteria since starting my own personal challenge as well as one or two I started before then.
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
I heard about these two within the last couple of years after the success of Norwegian crime fiction writer Jo Nesbø, who has credited the couple with inspiring him with his own work, most notably the Harry Hole series which I also love. The husband and wife team from Sweden collaborated on the Martin Beck series, which spanned 10 novels about the Stockholm police detective and his squad. I read all of them within the last couple of years, finishing them earlier this year, and enjoyed all of them. The series are police procedurals and it is only apropos, in my mind, that in the reprints of these works written in the 1960s and 1970s are introduced by modern crime fiction authors, who owe a lot to these two, considered separately as "The Godfather of Scandinavian Fiction" and "The Queen of Crime."
I discovered Bilal, the pseudonym of British-Sudanese author Jamal Mahjoub , on OverDrive at The Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) with his Makana Investigation series. Makana is an exiled Sudanese police detective in Cairo and so far, there have been four books in the series, of which I have read three. The best so far was Dogstar Rising. I plan on buying and reading the fourth, The Burning Gates for the upcoming Thankfully Reading Weekend which I'm extending to all week since I happen to be off work the entire week.
I think I first saw Blair's books at our library and was intrigued by them, but didn't pick them up until Belle of the blog Ms. Bookish mentioned that I should try them and so I did. I enjoyed the first two of the series Blair has written about Cuban Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, although probably the second one a little better because it seems like she has honed her skills. Blair is a Canadian author, formerly a lawyer who now works in real estate.
Mosley is not just a crime fiction writer as he also writes in science fiction as well, but he is most well known probably for his Easy Rawlins series of which Devil in a Blue Dress is the first. I remember seeing the movie years ago with Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beale and liking it, and reading the book, but only returned to the series earlier this year. I admit that I did skip one because it wasn't working for me, and learned that I have missed one other, but I'm now up to the seventh in the series, out of a dozen novels in the series and one short-story collection that I haven't read. Rawlins is very hard-boiled, extremely rough around the edges, but he always is looking for justice on the streets of L.A.. The series starts in the 1940s and goes up through the 1970s as far as I've gotten.
Born in Ghana, now a doctor living in California, Quartey writes about his native country through the eyes of his detective Darko Dawson, who works in Accra, the country's capital. I have read all three in the series so far, although I didn't care for the last one as much as the first two. However, I know I'll probably still give a try to his next one, Gold of Our Fathers, expected out next year. I discovered him through FLP as well.