RARA-AVIS: Liza Cody? Up and coming?

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Fri, 1 Oct 1999 07:48:18 -0400

Bob Toomey, in response to that other Smith guy's question about up-and-coming noir women writers, said:

>Did anyone mention Liza Cody's Eva Wylie books? Wylie's one of the toughest
>broads on the block, a professional wrestler (a villain, the London
>car thief, security guard, smart mouth. Cody captures some beautiful British
>street talk, mean and funny. Try BUCKET NUT, the first and best of them.

Well,the U.K.'s Liza Cody may be a lot of things but she doesn't seem particularly up-and-coming (I also have trouble seeing her as really noir). She's actually been around since at least 1980, when she published the first of several P.I. novels about Anna Lee, which pre-dated both Grafton, Paretsky and the hordes that followed. Good solid reads, with a great lead character, who takes a defiantly down-to-earth approach to her work, sometimes much to the dismay of the people around her. And her take on office politics in the detective agency she works for is a hoot.

She wrote seven books in the series before switching to the Eva Wylie series in which is much harder in tone (although Anna had her moments, she's more matter-of-fact than truly hardboiled).

Is she considered up-and-coming? I' d always thought of her as already here. Her books are pretty widely available (or were-nobody seems to carry much of a backlist, anymore), and a really lame British TV series based on the Lee books was produced (worst adaptation of a literary P.I. since Spenser For Hire) and shown in both the U.K. and the States.

Or am I off-base here? Am I over-estimating her popularity? I forget sometimes that what I see in Canadian bookstores and libraries doesn't always match that in in the States. We tend to get more British books, (and British editions, which tend to have better covers). Were the Anna Lee's available widely in the States? I always thought they were, but I'm wondering now, because it seems she's hardly ever mentioned.

And how about the very Hammerish Nick Sharman by Mark Timlin. His books are available here, but has this Brit dick found his way to the States beyond a few mystery bookstores?

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ Still available! Our Summer Issue, focussing on Radio Private Eyes, plus new fiction by Peter Parmantie and Kathy Korty.

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