Gendering the genre: Three Australian women writers and their debut crime fiction novels | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2045-5852
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5860



The creators and consumers of crime fiction have changed dramatically since the genre, established in ancient times to define legal and moral codes and indicate the consequences for breaking those codes, first started to gain widespread popularity as a form of entertainment in the eighteenth century. One of the most significant of these changes can be seen in the slow but steady rise of the female as consumer, creator and character. There are many ways to explore some of the gendered changes within the crime fiction genre, one of which is to examine novels written by women who have chosen female protagonists to tell their stories. Ostensibly quite different texts, Miles Franklin’s Bring the Monkey (1933), June Wright’s Murder in the Telephone Exchange (1948) and Elizabeth Antill’s Death on the Barrier Reef (1952) are three debut crime novels that share some striking similarities. In addition to all three novels featuring female first-person narrators, these stories also tell tales of very violent crimes and contribute to documenting some of the shifts in views on gender, female friendship, marriage and class within what has become the world’s most popular genre.


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