Why Are There So Many Crime Thrillers With 'Girl' in the Title?
Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, Luckiest Girl Alive, Final Girls... There's no shortage of crime novels with 'girl' in the title since the huge success of Gillian Flynn's 2012 thriller Gone Girl. But what do these novels have in common, what explains their success, and why are classified as domestic noir?
Domestic Noir is a term first applied to fiction of this type by the author Julia Crouch, and it has stuck. Crime novels concerned with the female experience, with the ordinary lives of women who are faced with danger from within the home or from their own past. Novels which involve murder and mystery, but not of the serial killer and FBI procedural variety.
This episode explores the rise of domestic noir, from the success of Gone Girl onward. In the wake of the recent MeToo movement the focus has somewhat changed, but the subgenre has developed to reflect this.
The episode also looks back at the history of crime novels concerned with very similar themes, going right back to the 19th century.
How does domestic noir reflect the realities of violence against women and our perceptions of female victimhood? Is our cultural perversely preoccupied with the deaths and disappearances of young, pretty, white girls?