May 1, 2024

Why Ann Rule Used
a Male Pseudonym

Ann Rule began writing for the true crime magazine True Detective in 1969 under the pseudonyms Arthur Stone, Chris Hansen and Andy Stack, using male names at her editors’ insistence. She wrote two 10,000-word articles a week for the next 13 years.

So, why did ‘60s-era editors shy away from letting audiences know that a woman was writing the grisly stories they loved so much? Did they think the stories would have more impact if they were perceived as coming from an authoritative male voice? Was it about upholding the illusion that women are too delicate for such matters? Or did the editors assume that no one would believe a woman could know anything about police investigations?

In modern times, this seems especially jarring given that true crime audiences are thought to be predominantly female.

In a 1999 CNN interview, Rule said she once feared that writing about murder all the time would leave her jaded, but it hadn’t. “I am not a cynic, because I find at least three dozen heroes for every bad guy or gal I have to write about,” she said. “The good in humanity always comes out way ahead.” Perhaps women, for whatever reason, are more keen on stories that take you to the darkest edges of humanity, but then reassure you that, amid the violence and horror of a few of us, most of us are good and decent people.

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