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A Masculine Ending (Loretta Lawson, #1)
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A Masculine Ending (Loretta Lawson #1)

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Loretta Lawson, English professor at London University, is annoyed when she discovers a sleeping stranger in the supposedly empty Paris flat she has borrowed. When she returns from a feminist literary conference to find the stranger gone but his bed sheets bloody, Loretta doesn't need an encyclopedia to figure out her mysterious roommate has been murdered.

With urgent busin
Mass Market Paperback, 214 pages
Published June 27th 1989 by Fawcett (first published 1987)
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Larry Bassett
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Loretta Lawson is the protagonist of this first novel in a series of five books published in Britain between 1987 and 1995. Lawson lectures in English at London University. She is also a strong feminist according to the book jacket. That was my major attraction to the book. I have been looking for feminist private investigators. At that time I had only found one: V.I. Warshawski the product of Sara Paretsky. So I was quite excited about this new discovery. Although Loretta is not actually a P.I. ...more
Jan 19, 2011 added it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I enjoyed this quite a bit the first time I read it, which would have been 10-20 years ago. It is still not a bad read, but hasn't aged as well as it might have. Part of the fun of it the first time around was that it featured a feminist professor of literature as the inadvertent sleuth, and while back then I knew nothing of structuralism or deconstruction, I knew a reasonable amount about feminist theory. In 2011, it has some charm as a period piece (and perhaps will acquire more in future deca ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Joan Smith, a British journalist, activist and novelist, introduces Loretta Lawson, a feminist academic, in A Masculine Ending Dr. Lawson uses the Paris flat of a fellow London University professor while she's in the city for a feminist conference. While there, Dr. Lawson comes to believe that an unknown man has been murdered in that very flat.

I don't want to give to much away by explaining why, but Dr. Lawson cannot go to the French police with her rather wispy suspicions. Instead, aided by her
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Brain candy mystery and a quick read. The heroine is a little reminiscent of Amanda Cross's Kate Fansler--only younger, British, and less literary. I figured out whodunit a tad too early, although I didn't guess whydunit details. I like the (view spoiler) ending.
Joshua Ian
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
The blurb on the back of this book says it is "a charming combination of sophistication, wit and unpretentious learning." I'll give them the sophistication but otherwise.... hrm. I really wanted to like this book. I like the idea of the lead character, the setting is cool and I loved the idea of the strong feminist slant. She was an academic and compared to many other academic sleuths, she was modern and, I suppose, unpretentious. At least in outward presentation. But some of the critiques of li ...more
Jun 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
I have never heard of this book, and have never heard of this author. But I saw the book offered on a forum as a freebie, and thought it sounded interesting, so I asked to receive it. It was published in 1989, and I thought there might be things terribly dated about the story, but now that I have finished it, there is only one thing I realized wasn't really there, which I'll talk about at the end of this review.

Loretta Lawson, a professor of Women's Studies at London University, is in Paris for
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it

I first became acquainted with Joan Smith through her earlier book, Misogynies. I was striving - as many women do - to try to sort out the logic between male love of sex with women and contempt - if not hatred - of us at the same time. Women's reactions to men are rarely misanthropic; we tend to want to trust and believe men for some reason that I have to admit does not comport with our lived experience a great deal of the time. Despite finding that men lie to women on a daily basis (by omission
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime, 1980s
One of my friends recommended Joan Smith's Loretta Lawson books after I said I was looking for crime books written by British women, that didn't necessarily involve police detectives.

Loretta Lawson is an English professor at a university in London. She's a feminist in an era when feminism was often equated with lesbianism and radical political views. However, with the benefit of around 30 years' hindsight, Loretta is just a normal woman, living a normal life. I can't help thinking it would have
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a lot.

This novel was published in 1987 and I read it in 2014. Clearly, it's a bit outdated by now, but it's certainly interesting to kind of get back into that mindset. This novel, if written today, would have to be written completely differently. It was fun reading about someone attempting to solve a crime without any access to modern devices, like mobile phones or the Internet.

Other than that, I liked the pace. Nothing is rushed, we get clues and new characters in a well-paced
Mar 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Good writing and overall a good story. I would have rated it higher, but I absolutely hate those open-ended endings. Where you find out who did it (I guessed, but didn't know why exactly), but you don't know if s/he gets caught or not. Does Loretta turn the culprit in? Considering that she doesn't tell the police anything all through the book, who knows. And there's no evidence in the book that the police are anywhere near the right answer....
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
I enjoyed this book even though I thought the heroine behaved a bit childishly at times. I sympathized with what she did once the mystery was solved, and might have found myself tempted to do the same in her situation. Overall, this was an unusual mystery but a very readable one, with an interesting peek into university life/feminist theory in the late 80s.
I hate it when I figure out the mystery before the end of the book!
Karen Ponulak
rated it it was ok
Jan 14, 2017
rated it it was ok
Feb 04, 2014
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Feb 16, 2017
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Aug 23, 2008
Feb 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
Yeah, I finished it. I'd invested 158 pages. I HAD to find out who did it.
Gerri Balter
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Jun 17, 2014
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Jun 09, 2015
rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2008
Miss M
rated it it was ok
Mar 24, 2014
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Mar 07, 2013
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Jul 10, 2009
Pancake Toad
rated it it was amazing
Mar 12, 2014
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Mar 01, 2012
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May 08, 2011
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Sep 10, 2013
Lauren LaTulip
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Feb 19, 2016
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Nov 12, 2008
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Sep 02, 2008
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Joan Alison Smith is an English novelist, journalist and human rights activist, who is a former chair of the Writers in Prison committee in the English section of International PEN. In 2003 she was offered the MBE for her services to PEN, but refused the award. Joan Smith is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.
More about Joan Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Loretta Lawson (5 books)
  • Why Aren't They Screaming? (Loretta Lawson, #2)
  • Don't Leave Me This Way (Loretta Lawson, #3)
  • What Men Say (Loretta Lawson, #4)
  • Full Stop (Loretta Lawson, #5)