Megan Abbott: Beware the Woman

The Gothic is one of those adjacent genres that fed into the mystery torrent but still manages a fairly strong stream of its own. Many mistresses of mystery like Mignon Eberhardt and Daphne du Maurier mixed updated elements of the Gothic into their most notable books. An equally notable modern talent, Megan Abbott is nothing if not an aficionado of genre, but her take in her excellent new effort Beware the Woman is not just imitation, but an update and critique of these female centered but male dominated stories. read more

Sarah Weinman: Scoundrel

The legendary figure of the trickster has been part of English and American literature from the beginning. Ever since works like Defoe’s Moll Flanders and Melville’s The Confidence Man, readers have been perennially fascinated by tales of the pompous and privileged being made fools of by the humble and underprivileged, the overeducated dunce capped by the wisdom of the streets. And I’m here to tell you that modern times are no different, as evidenced by Sarah Weinman’s great new nonfiction book Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free. Oh, and did I mention that one of the hoodwinked was perhaps one the most privileged and pompous figures of his time, the revered public Conservative, William F. Buckley. read more