Award-winning author Liza Cody is recognized for broadening the scope of the British detective genre. Not content merely with incorporating a modern female detective into the mold, she has created works that complicate what it means to be a detecting woman in a field traditionally reserved for tough male protagonists and spinsterish female amateurs. Identified primarily with her two feminist detective series, featuring Anna Lee and Eva Wylie, Cody also writes short fiction and novels of suspense.
Certain features of Cody’s style resemble those of master detective writer Raymond Chandler. Her prose is realistic and sparse, replete with believable and frequently witty dialogue. Like Chandler’s characters, Cody’s detectives are loners wary of connections with others but in search of them nonetheless. The world they investigate is a dark one, in which human nature is deceptive and the task of piecing together clues labyrinthine.
Cody is notable for her development of original female detectives, both professional and amateur, and for her examination of the intersection of gender, authority, and justice in her works. Like her contemporaries, American authors Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, Cody populates her novels with sleuthing women who are tough-minded, physically strong, independent in lifestyle, and otherwise defiant of sexual stereotypes.