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In 2012's Best Mysteries, Mean Girls Rule

Best Mysteries of 2012
Nishant Choksi

Mean girls and their ingenious female creators top my mysteries and thrillers list this year. Maybe it takes the special discernment of a female writer (who's presumably suffered through the "Queen Bee and Wannabee" cliques of middle school) to really capture the cruel mental machinations that can hide behind a pair of shining eyes and a lip-glossed smile.

It's ironic to recall that American pulp detectives used to dismissively refer to women as "frails." Those tough guys wouldn't dare use that term about the women in — or authors of — some of these books. They'd be garroted with their very own Y chromosomes faster than you can say "Nancy Drew."

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Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, is The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2019, Corrigan was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle.
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