Re: RARA-AVIS: transgender (was Noir Manifesto)

From: Karin Montin (
Date: 31 Oct 2005

This is a bit of a spoiler, but there is a very significant transgender character in The Mermaids Singing, by Val McDermid, which has been nominated for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger of Daggers award. I got the write-up below from <> I've never been able to look at lemon reamers the same since reading this book.--Karin

1995 Val McDermid - The Mermaids Singing
'This is both superbly easy and remarkably difficult to read. Easy because Val McDermid's beautifully drawn characters and effortless prose mean you can't put it down. Difficult because the compelling and unsettling narrative about a serial killer whose victims are horrifically tortured, told partly through the killer's own diary, grips your attention with appalled fascination. An emotional car crash of a story, violent and powerful, but you just can't tear your eyes away.

'The book is all the more challenging for the fact that McDermid seems to slip into the skin of her cruel and damaged killer so shockingly well. Under her deft touch, the perpetrator is brought to gruesome life as an entirely understandable and human monster. But this is balanced by characters you can really root for ­ clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and his police liaison, DI Carol Jordan. In particular, Tony Hill is a unique protagonist, in some ways as deeply flawed as the deranged minds he studies.

'This book, McDermid's tenth, also marks a turning point in the career of one of the most successful British crime writers. It heralds her masterful entrance into the world of the deeply disturbing psychological chiller. A worthy winner.' Zo렓harp

At 00:58 31/10/05 -0500, Mark wrote:

>This raises a question -- are there any transgender protagonists (not
>just walk-ons) in noir or hardboiled lit? I'm aware of plenty of gay
>and lesbian (I've often wondered why lesbian has to be added -- isn't
>gay gender neutral?) protagonists, but no transgendered. I bet a pretty
>interesting book could be done from such an outsider perspective.

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