Friday, January 08, 2010

The return of Lady Molly of Scotland Yard and a classic Jack the Ripper tale.

It's nice to see that, courtesy of Academy Chicago Publishers, two mystery classics by female authors will be back in print: Marie Belloc Lowndes's The Lodger (1914; Hitchcock film 1927), where an elderly couple begin to think the unthinkable about their mysterious tenant (out in March); and Baroness Emmuska Orczy's Lady Molly of Scotland Yard (1910), where Lady Molly and her maid, Mary Granard, put "the test of feminine investigation" to unsolved crimes (out in May).

Lowndes (1868–1947), author of more than 50 books and sister of poet Hilaire Belloc, also created vain French detective Hercules Popeau. Several of her books are based on real cases or are true crime studies; go here to read her 1912 McClure's article on poisoner Marie Lafarge. Orczy (1865–1947), best known for The Scarlet Pimpernel, also wrote some of the earliest armchair detective stories with the "Old Man in the Corner," who related his tales of deduction to an eager lady journalist in a teashop.

About the image: George Sanders in The Lodger (1944, dir. John Brahm)

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