Two books of interest, which I learned about from the blog crossexamining crime(now listed in the blogroll).
Megan Hoffman, Gender and Representation in British Golden Age Crime Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
This book provides an original and compelling analysis of the ways in which British women’s golden age crime narratives negotiate the conflicting social and cultural forces that influenced depictions of gender in popular culture in the 1920s until the late 1940s. The book explores a wide variety of texts produced both by writers who have been the focus of a relatively large amount of critical attention, such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham, but also those who have received comparatively little, such as Christianna Brand, Ngaio Marsh, Gladys Mitchell, Josephine Tey and Patricia Wentworth. Through its original readings, this book explores the ambivalent nature of modes of femininity depicted in golden age crime fiction, and shows that seemingly conservative resolutions are often attempts to provide a ‘modern-yet-safe’ solution to the conflicts raised in the texts.
Link to chapter one.
Merja Makinen, Agatha Christie: Investigating Femininity (Palgrave, 2006). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
Christie's books depict women as adventurous, independent figures who renegotiate sexual relationships along more equal lines. Women are also allowed to disrupt society and yet the texts refuse to see them as double deviant because of their femininity. This book demonstrates exactly how quietly innovatory Christie was in relation to gender.
Link to the Introduction.