PERSONAL: Female. Education: Birmingham University, philosophy degree.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Annette Green, Annette Green Authors' Agency, 1 East Cliff Rd., Turnbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9AD, United Kingdome. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Barrister and author. Called to the Bar of London, England, 1980.
AWARDS, HONORS: John Creasy Memorial Dagger shortlist, Crime Writers of America, 2001, and Lambda Literary Award for best lesbian mystery, 2003, both for Good Bad Woman.
Good Bad Woman, Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 2002.
Babyface, HarperCollins UK (London, England), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Elizabeth Woodcraft is an author and lawyer living in England. After graduating from Birmingham University with a degree in philosophy, she taught English in Leicestershire. She lived for a year in France, then worked for the National Women's Aid Federation, after which she read for the Bar. In her legal career, Woodcraft has represented a variety of protestors, activists, and laborers on strike. Among her other clients are battered women, child victims of sexual abuse, and gay parents pursuing parental rights.
Woodcraft's first novel, Good Bad Woman, introduces English barrister Frankie Richmond, a thirtysomething lesbian suffering from career doldrums and a lack of lucrative work. Frankie agrees to represent her friend Saskia in court on a charge of drunk and disorderly. At the conclusion of the hearing, a suspicious-looking man asks for Frankie's and her client's names, but she refuses to divulge the information. Frankie later spots the man again, and decides to follow him in her car. The man doesn't respond well to being tailed; he disables Frankie's car and gives her a black eye. When the man later turns up murdered—and clutching Frankie's license plate—suspicion turns on her as a murderer. Frankie lands in jail, charged with murder, and her situation takes an even grimmer turn when the murdered man's credit card is found in her apartment. To clear her name, she must find Saskia, but her friend is hard to locate. In the midst of her search for Saskia, Frankie meets and begins and affair with nightclub singer Margo, tries to carry on her usual relationships, and searches for rare tracks to add to her Motown collection.
A Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that "strong plotting, characters with depth and cunning, and a lesbian heroine who'll make readers all over the map rethink their sexual preferences mark this debut as a keeper." Belinda Meteyard, writing in Feminist Legal Studies, observed, "The book is enjoyable to read and was, I suspect, equally enjoyable to write." The authentic setting, featuring real streets, cafes, and restaurants, "adds an extra dimension of enjoyment of the book," Meteyard said. Rex Klett, writing in Library Journal, called the book "lively and imaginative."
"Good Bad Woman is a funky urban noir crime thriller," wrote Harriet Klausner on the Best Reviews Web site. "The who-done-it is very cleverly constructed and multi-layered with many interconnecting paths." Yvonne Klein, writing on Reviewing the Evidence online, commented that the novel suffers from faults expected from a first novel, including some inconsistent characterizations, weakness of plot, and a too-early climax. "But, as an entry in the not overly large sub-genre of lesbian crime fiction, Good Bad Woman has much to recommend it," Klein concluded.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Feminist Legal Studies, December, 2001, Belinda Meteyard, review of Good Bad Woman, p. 271.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Good BadWoman, pp. 999-1000.
Library Journal, August, 2002, Rex Klett, review of Good Bad Woman, pp. 149-150.
Publishers Weekly, September 2, 2002, review of GoodBad Woman, p. 58.
Reviewing The Evidence,http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/ (December 13, 2002), review of Good Bad Woman.