Nora Goodman, the troubled heroine of Diane Lawson’s thriller “A Tightly Raveled Mind,” (read our interview with the author here) might call herself a disciple of Freud. But she follows a long line of Jewish women in crime fiction, from Orthodox mothers to Miami Beach beauticians to wisecracking lawyers. Here are six of our favorite books featuring Jewish women crime-solvers. Who’s yours?
1. Sara Paretsky, “Indemnity Only” (1982)
V.I. Warshawski, daughter of a Polish Catholic policeman-father and an Italian Jewish opera singer-mother, has practically become a folk hero. Kathleen Turner portrayed her in a 1991 film.
2. Ayelet Waldman, “Nursery Crimes” (2000)
This well-reviewed mystery launched a popular series featuring Juliet Applebaum, Jewish housewife and amateur detective.
3. Nancy Cohen, “Permed to Death” (1999)
Miami Beach salon owner Marla Shore becomes an accidental detective after a client dies while getting a perm in her salon. The “Bad Hair Day” mysteries continue, with Peril by Ponytail the latest.
4. Michael A. Kahn, “Death Benefits” (1988)
“Stunning and savvy” Jewish attorney-cum-detective Rachel Gold makes her first appearance in this first of a series.
5. Faye Kellerman, “The Ritual Bath” (1986)
Rena Lazarus, a young Orthodox widow, and Peter Decker, born a Jew but raised Baptist, team to solve mysteries in this bestselling series.
6. Marissa Piesman, “Personal Effects” (1991)
Wisecracking, perennially single Bronx-born lawyer Nina Fischman can’t seem to keep out of murder and mayhem in Piesman’s very funny and compulsively readable series.
6 Jewish Crime Novels With Female Protagonists Everyone Should Read