Yesterday I participated in an enjoyable crime readers’ day event held at Nottingham Central Library. After talks by others in the morning, I hosted my Victorian murder mystery event in the afternoon. All very enjoyable (and well performed by the cast) as I calmed down after the trauma of getting completely lost in Nottingham’s Kafkaesque one-way traffic system. I like solving mysteries, but trying to find the library’s cunningly concealed car park defeated me...
One thing that struck me forcibly was that all but one of those participating in the event was female. And it is commonplace for the talks and events at libraries I attend to attract an audience that is 90% female. This may have a bit to do with the fact that I sense my recent books have appealed especially to a female readership. But I don’t think that is the main reason. The fact is that most whodunit writers who give talks find that most of those attending are women. I’m certainly happy about this, and I’m sure most if not all other writers are. But it does make you wonder why there is such a strong female presence.
Is it the case that mystery stories, perhaps especially those in the traditional style, appeal much more to women than to men? Or are men just very reluctant to attend talks about whodunits? And is there a connection with the fact that many key players in the publishing world are women? I’ve only ever had one literary agent, and she is female. Of the fiction editors I’ve had in the UK, five out of six have been female.
It’s all very intriguing, and definitely not a subject for complaint, but perhaps for curious enquiry. I’d be interested to know what readers of this blog think about the topic. Incidentally, the winner of the mystery event yesterday was – by a pleasant coincidence – a lady called Lisa whom I’ve never met before, but someone who has commented on this blog in the past. It was delightful to say hello to her, and a reminder of how connections can be made through the blogosphere that occasionally end up in meeting face to face.