Domestic Noir




‘From the Domestic to the Dominant: The New Face of Crime Fiction’
Edited Collection

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), The Silent Wife (ASA Harrison), The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins), are just three recent novels that have captured the commercial imagination and conceivably shifted the critical perception of what a contemporary crime thriller is and should be doing in the second decade of the 21st Century. The terrain is domestic, the narrative perspective and criminal perpetrator firmly female. However, the political is of course ever present in relation to gender and society. The crime thriller has always been a peculiarly modern form. Its transition to an urgent, necessary and contemporary form of literary expression is arguable, and lies at the core of the discussion within this collection.

Julia Crouch (Cuckoo, The Long Fall, Tarnished and Every Vow You Break) recognised as the originator of the term ‘Domestic Noir’ stated that it ‘takes place primarily in homes and workplaces, concerns itself largely (but not exclusively) with the female experience.’

Domestic Noir is often concerned with crimes of an extremely intimate nature. Renee Knight’s Disclaimer and Claire Kendal’s The Book of You, both deal with unusually invasive forms of stalking. Christobel Kent’s The Crooked House and Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree both detail the horror of long-buried secrets surfacing. Many of the novels deal explicitly with what Rebecca Whitney (The Liar’s Chair) describes as ‘toxic marriage and its fallout’, such as Emma Chapman’s How to be a Good Wife, and Lucie Whitehouse’s Before we Met. There are also versions of the marriage thriller that present economically or sexually independent women transgressing, such as Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard and Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau.

Children and adolescents often figure in Domestic Noir as incendiary characters such as in Emma Donoghue’s Room, Kate Hamer’s The Girl in the Red Coat, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin. Adolescent girls occupy centre stage in Megan Abbott’s reinterpretation of Lolita, The End of Everything, her twisted take on cheerleaders, Dare Me, and mass hysteria at a high school, The Fever. Also relevant here are Gillian Flynn’s first two novels Sharp Objects and Dark Places, and Tana French’s The Secret Place.

Domestic Noir is a particularly crystallised version of crime fiction. These are novels that not only toe a strong narrative line but also address the very real issues of life, death, and how we relate to each other. As there has not yet been a publication that addresses Domestic Noir, we welcome chapters on all aspects of the subgenre for a volume to be presented to a major UK or international publisher. You may wish to submit on the following topics, though this is by no means an exhaustive list:

–       Literary antecedents of Domestic Noir (i.e. In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes)
–       Female perpetrators, female gangsters, and women who kill
–       21st century crime fiction and its cultural relevance
–       The genesis of crime subgenres
–       Gendered and generational readings of Domestic Noir
–       Crime and mental health in the 21st century
–       Location, geographies, and race in Domestic Noir
–       Intimate crimes (stalking, rape etc.)
–       New work and domestic patterns
–       Domestic Noir and the Bluebeard cycle.
–       Suburban Gothic
–       Small and big screen interpretations of Domestic Noir


Abstracts of 400 – 500 words including up to five keywords should be sent to Laura Ellen Joyce ( or Henry Sutton ( by 18 March 2016
Notification of acceptance: 22 April 2016
Full chapters of between 6000 – 8000 words are due by: 16 September 2016
Final versions are due by: 31 December 2016

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