The first book in its first edition: exciting times. It got even more exciting when the book won the CWA's John Creasey award for best first novel and was an Edgar nominee for Best Novel.

After DUPE my editor asked, OK, what's next? I hadn't given it a moment's thought.

Portions of this book were set in the area of England I lived in when I wrote it.

This was the first story the film company adapted for TV.

This book was the first time I drew on my experiences in the music industry. In a way it prefigured GIMME MORE. It was nominated for a CWA Dagger in 1987.

Anna got to go to Florida in this book - an eye-opening experience for her. This novel too was nominated for a Best Novel Edgar.

Some Anna Lee reviews

"Electric with suspense, fast and funny"
Publisher's Weekly

"Anna Lee is... unputdownable..."
John Coleman, The Sunday Times

"...headstrong, volatile, aggressively independent, street-sharp, witty, soft and beguiling..."
Marcel Berlins, The Times

"BACKHAND is another wonderful book with all of Liza Cody's hallmarks: spare prose, lively dialogue, and a beautiful sense of time."
Sara Paretsky

"Add Liza Cody's name to that remarkably long list of British women who seem to have a special flair for turning out stylish, literate mysteries. DUPE deserves to be a winner."
Washington Post

"Anna Lee is alert as usual [and] it is all described with chilling, convincing detail"
William Weaver, The Financial Times

"Loud hurrahs... story wonderfully alive, truly tense, dialogue sharp and accurate!"
HRF Keating, The Times

"A delightful creation in the round, Anna and her ambience are as buoyant as ever."
Christopher Wordsworth, The Observer

The Anna Lee series: Dupe, Head Case, Bad Company, Stalker, Under Contract and Backhand.

At the very beginning all I wanted to do was to avoid my freezing, uninsulated studio, and look busy by the fire.

I hadn't read a lot of detective fiction - just Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross McDonald - but I'd enjoyed the pace and the writing. I did, however, have very serious doubts about their views of women. On top of that part of the attraction was the US itself, which seemed like an exotic location where gunplay and casual violence were plausible; not at all like England which breeds a different kind of nastiness altogether.

It made me wonder what would happen to an ordinary, competent English woman who happened to be a detective; someone who went unarmed, used the Yellow Pages a lot and got hurt when she was hit.

So I started small: I fitted an ex-police woman, Anna Lee, into a small detective agency on Kensington High Street and gave her an unimportant case. Then, sort of like a reader, I waited to see what happened.

I'm a feminist and I tend to believe that ordinary, competent women can change the world if they want to. But back in the late '70s, early '80s it was as if they had to wait for male permission.

Anna was a woman who was somewhat damaged by living and working in a man's world; she probably wouldn't have called herself a feminist - she would've just worked twice as hard and tried to be twice as good as the guys in order to be thought of as not quite equal.

So the book, Dupe, as it developed, was never intended as a polemic. But it was intended to be a feminist story: to show the slights, insults and restrictions that ordinary, competent, intelligent women faced every day, especially those who worked in what at the time was seen as a man's world - a detective agency.

Selected Works

Don't judge a book by its cover, or a bag lady by her appearance. "I didn't always look like this," she says. "Being barmy doesn't mean I'm stupid." Lady Bag does have her problems - her close relationship with cheap red wine, for example. When she gets hammered she talks to her dog. When she's extra-hammered her dog talks to her. Guess who makes better sense. She and her greyhound, Electra, wander through the streets of London, seeing a Dickensian side of the capital city that's only visible to the homeless. Together they accept the kindness or unkindness of strangers with the same wry patience. Until, on one dreadful day, they meet the Devil outside the National Portrait Gallery.
All Birdie Walker wants is some justice for her husband, Jack. But since Jack was a rock star and the justice has to come from the music business, Birdie absolutely has to take some extreme measures.Click on the title for more information.
Short stories
All my short stories up to 2003 are in this collection. It includes two written specially. Click on the title for a bit about how I came to write short stories and more information.
The Anna Lee series
I wrote six novels about Anna Lee. Click on the titles for more information.
The Bucket Nut Trilogy
Professional wrestler Eva Wylie appeared in three novels in the '90s. Click on the titles for more information.
Other stand-alone novels
RIFT is set in the Ethiopia of the 1970s. BALLAD is the story of a girl with a miraculous musical talent. MISS TERRY is the story of what happens to someone who looks different from her neighbours when a grisly discovery is made. Click on the titles for more information.
The story collections I co-edited for Britain's Crime Writers' Association.
In the early '90s I helped edit these three books - aiming them to be more annuals than anthologies. They include many things we're proud to have published. Click on the titles for more information.