ROGUE FLASH – Gayle Lynds in the London “Guardian”

by | Jan 16, 2020 | Gayle Lynds, Rogue Flash | 10 comments

Scottish American author Helen MacInnes

Exciting news!  British female authors are making in-roads in the male-dominated field of spy fiction. They’re publishing first-rate novels across the pond that are winning awards and making best-seller lists.  In fact, as Guardian writer Alison Flood announces in Nobody in Tesco buys spy books by women, the Brit “boys’ club is having its cover blown.”

How bad has it been?  “Wikipedia lists 127 notable writers of spy fiction, dead and living, and only seven of them are women,” Flood explains.  “Helen MacInnes, the Scottish-born American author of 21 spy novels that have sold more than 25m copies in the US alone, will make it on to some lists, if she’s lucky. So will U.S. writer Gayle Lynds;
both receive the soubriquet of  
the ‘queen of spy fiction’.”

American author Gayle Lynds

“Back in 1995, though, Lynds sent her debut spy thriller Masquerade to a New York publishing house. Its president, she told the Wall Street Journal, at first agreed to buy it, but changed her mind the following day.

‘Her reason? “No woman could have written this novel’.”  She went to another publisher, and it became a bestseller.”…

Hooray for the Brits!
And hooray for the Yanks, too, because more and more women over here are cracking their code books and contributing 
impressive novels 
to the important 
field of espionage 

These top spy writers include Rogues:
Robin Burcell
Chris Goff
KJ Howe
Karna Small Bodman
Jamie Freveletti

and former Rogues
Francine Mathews
Sonja Stone

Click on their names.  Legunt verum: You’ll enjoy their books!

Do you have favorite female spy novelists?  If it’s not classified, please tell….

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Ali Karim

    Great stuff, thanks for the post – i'm so glad female espionage writers are being acknowledged, though i am sad that Helen MacInnes does not get the kudos she deserves, loved her books in mtg teenage years, for people who've not read her work, this link will tell you more > BEST REGARDS, Ali

  2. Karna Bodman

    It's so great that our Rogue, Gayle Lynds, was highlighted in that GUARDIAN article and that their writer reminded readers that she indeed is known as the Queen of Spy Fiction!!!

  3. Gayle Lynds

    I love her work, too, Ali, and each time her name is mentioned, I'm thrilled. Over the years, I've given several talks about her and her works, and also written essays, and each time I'm reminded that she was a giant. What's amusing now … and Dickens faced this, too … is that going back and reading contemporary reviews, one sees how many times her work gets knocked. Today, I doubt they'd see it that way. Thanks for your comment, and hope you're reviewing lots of terrific female spy thriller writers!

  4. Gayle Lynds

    Thank you, Karna, and kudos on your own spy novels!

  5. Chris Goff

    Just so thrilled to see Helen MacInnes and Gayle Lynds feted as the greats they are! Thanks for the link, Ali.

  6. Chris Goff

    Gayle, you have earned the kudos and the title. Thank you, your highness, for the shout out.

  7. Gayle Lynds

    You are such a remarkable writer, Chris. I ❤️ your thrillers. I can't wait to read your next one!!!!

  8. Jorie

    Hallo, Hallo Ms Lynds,

    To answer your question – you were one of the first women Thriller writers I discovered because I bought "Masquerade" as an impulse buy when I was eighteen and in college; I needed the distraction and the respite; it was a wicked good page turner which never quite left me and I never knew there was a sequel until someone from this lovely blog started to follow me via Twitter! I popped over – saw your name and looked up your bibliography! Then, I spied this post and decided to leave a happy comment to say I've come full circle now! 🙂 First as a reader who unexpectedly found your book and as a fortysomething book blogger who now has a lovely new author's blog to follow and rediscover an author she once loved reading! Such a blessing this Saturday morning!!

    Fast forward – some of my favourite female Thriler novelists today include: Clare Chase & Rachel Amphlett; I am so dearly connected to the Kay Hunter series, when Amphlett was switchin the series up a bit in latter installments (within the last year or so) I couldn't 'let go' of the series because I felt so dearly anchoured into her character's life & world. To me that is a credit to her and second to her narrator (as I listen to them strictly in audiobooks); I connecting with an author's vision for their Thriller – the layers, the environments and the complexities of the crime(s) but also, I want to feel motivated and inspired by the lead character(s) (male or female) to pull me further into the heart of their stories. Chase & Amphlett have this balance and I am grateful. I also consider Dee Henderson (on the INSPY side of the ledger) to be a Thriller novelist too especially with books such as "Full Disclosure".

    Wait. You said 'spy' storycrafters.. ooh dear. Clearly my insomnia is showing! Forgive me!! 🙁

    PS I hadn't known the backstory on "Masquerade" either! To me (per memory of reading it) it was a dearly taunt and evocative novel; it was an edge of my seat thrill of a story and honestly, there were moments I was forsaking sleep just to get through the chapters; I never once questioned 'who' wrote it because your name was on the cover but more to the point, I've never understand this she/he battle of the gender divides; we're all equally able to accomplish whatever suits our writerly hearts and it would be lovely if one day we didn't have to justify the kinds of stories we either read or write because across the board we'd have gained a foothold towards equality & acceptance within all genres of interest.

  9. Gayle Lynds

    Dear Jorie … What a delight to read your note. I'm happy you enjoyed Masquerade so much that you still remember it, and that you discovered The Coil as its sequel. Thank you for letting me know how much you've liked my novels. And thank you for aiding readers everywhere to discover great tales and storytellers! PS: I love chai lattes, too. 🙂

  10. Jorie

    What a beautiful note to find after I hosted my Saturday morning chat @SatBookChat!! Thank you for your kind reply and for visiting my blog! Chai is so dearly comforting to drink; I was a tea girl long before I was smitten by coffee and chai helps me remember my roots within tea and chai!! I am hoping to re-read Masquerade this year and then seek out The Coil; it will be interesting to see the changes in how the story affects me and what my new takeaways will be. My original copy is packed someplace so I'll have to seek out a different one (lol). I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Ms Lynds!

    PS I addd this blog to my sidebar so I remember to visit!!