Words To That Effect Ep20 Domestic Noir

Episode 20: Domestic Noir

Why Are There So Many Crime Thrillers With ‘Girl’ in the Title?

Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, Luckiest Girl Alive, Final Girls… There’s no shortage of crime novels with ‘girl’ in the title since the huge success of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 thriller Gone Girl. But what do these novels have in common, what explains their success, and why are classified as domestic noir?

Words To That Effect Ep20 Domestic Noir


What is Domestic Noir?

Domestic Noir is a term first applied to fiction of this type by the author Julia Crouch, and it has stuck. Crime novels concerned with the female experience, with the ordinary lives of women who are faced with danger from within the home or from their own past. Novels which involve murder and mystery, but not of the serial killer and FBI procedural variety.



Domestic Noir: Past & Future

This episode explores the rise of domestic noir, from the success of Gone Girl onward. In the wake of the recent MeToo movement the focus has somewhat changed, but the subgenre has developed to reflect this.

The episode also looks back at the history of crime novels concerned with very similar themes, going right back to the 19th century.

How does domestic noir reflect the realities of violence against women and our perceptions of female victimhood? Is our cultural perversely preoccupied with the deaths and disappearances of young, pretty, white girls?



Catherine Ryan Howard

Words To That Effect Domestic Noir liars girlMy first guest this week is author Catherine Ryan Howard. Her debut thriller, Distress Signals, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger 2017.

Catherine’s second thriller, The Liar’s Girl, was released in March 2018. You can find out more Catherine and the book here and Catherine is on Twitter here

Eva Burke

My second guest is Eva Burke, a specialist in domestic noir fiction, who is currently completing a PhD on the subject in Trinity College Dublin. You can find Eva’s bio here or follow her on Twitter

Her publications include a chapter on Gone Girl in the recent Palgrave edited collection, Domestic Noir: The New Face of 21st Century Crime Fiction.


Paddy Mulcahy WTTE domestic noir Music this week was by Paddy Mulcahy, whose music can be found here

Track Listings

Clicktracks On Mars (The Words She Said)

Arp-a-play (Nowhere To Be)


Saso - mysterium words To That Effect domestic noirMusic was also by Saso, whose music can be found here.

Track Listings

Clouds Forming (Mysterium)

High Speed (Mysterium)





Looking for more popular fiction? This episode is on the highbrow and the lowbrow and this one is on Baroness Orczy and Victorian crime fiction

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