Lauren has been called the dominatrix of the British crime scene but is actually too lazy to discipline anyone properly, even her dog. She was born and bred in London and worked there as a journalist, club bartender, and various other poorly paid jobs before going to Tuscany on holiday and never really coming back. Her hobbies are mostly illegal.

From a self-bio on

Lauren Henderson was born in 1966 and is still very much alive. She currently divides her time between Italy and London and, much to my delight, writes full time. Her writing is straight-forward, comical, and at times, harrowing; her entertaining plots can have you laughing one minute and on the edge of your seat with queasy dread the next. (Oh why do I read mysteries when I can barely tolerate suspense?)

The singular aspect of Henderson's mystery/crime books is her anti-herione, Sam Jones, a sarcastic, boozy sculptress who can use power tools and get to the bottom of any mysterious happening. Sam isn't actively looking for mystery, mind you; it finds her. She talks the talk and walks the walk whilst poking her beautiful nose into the maelstrom of chaos and death that seems to constantly whirl around her. Her friends and acquaintances range from the marginally employed to trust fund babies, and she's slept around with every type, including a married policeman. No one in their right mind would want to live with Sam, but she can be quite likable in her own way. If anything, Sam's a load of excitement to be around. She's the kind of woman good girls would be if they didn't succumb to the pressure of pleasing their mom, boyfriend, husband, etc.

Though Sam's a tad rough around the edges, she isn't completely louche. She's quite capable of passing in posh company and bites her stinging tongue long enough to figure out who's killed whom and why, though her mouth eventually causes problems and she often finds herself being manhandled. The London police are quite suspicious of dear Sam, as dead bodies seem to crop up around her. (Even the NYPD became curious when she almost became a body herself during a visit to a NYC gallery show featuring her amazing Thing sculpture and several other young British artists.)

Lauren Henderson herself seems to live by the Sam Jones philosophy, which makes her an inspiration to every woman who has yearned or learned to live life out loud. She co-founded the website TartCity with other like-minded female crime writers, where visitors can read short stories, catch up on the editors' activities, and revel in general bad-girl goodness. Even if it is only vicariously. Henderson and the other female writers on the site refuse to write about "young female prostitutes being stalked by serial killers" and instead create their heroines as "girls with few scruples…and more wisecracks than they know what to do with."

Southern US writer Katy Munger and British writer Stella Duffy, a co-founder and editor of Tart City, respectively, are other crime writers well worth reading. For a wider selection, go to the Tart City website; their choice of fonts may be odd, but it's a fantastic source of bad-girl crime fighting:

A list of the wonderful Ms. Hendesons' novels:

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