Tuesday, July 06, 2010

TLS: Judith Flanders on authors of the first
female detectives.

In the June 18 Times Literary Supplement, British novelist and journalist Judith Flanders discusses the first known female fictional detectives, particularly those pertaining to Experiences of a Lady Detective (aka Revelations of a Lady Detective, 1884; attributed to W. S. Hayward, but there is controversy about that); accounts based on the Constance Kent case (most recently the subject of Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher); and a convincing unmasking of the pseudonymous Andrew Forrester Jr. (The Female Detective, ca. 1863). Unfortunately, Flanders's piece only appears to be available in the TLS print edition. Clues 25.1 (2006) and 26.3 (2008) featured articles that discussed Victorian female sleuths; the author of one, Dagni Bredesen of Eastern Illinois University, is working on scholarly editions of The Female Detective and Revelations of a Lady Detective.

Also of interest in the June 18th TLS: Michael Dirda's recollections as an assistant editor of the Washington Post Book World: "Elmore Leonard confessed that he was tired of being asked to review gritty crime novels, so I talked him into writing about the latest Anita Brookner" (16). Readers might also peruse Jonathan Barnes's June 23rd discussion (available online) of Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Creeping Man" (1923), in the context of a review for the 56-volume The Complete Works of Arthur Conan Doyle (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Update: Bredesen's scholarly edition of The Female Detective and Revelations of a Lady Detective has been published under the title The First Female Detectives.

About the image: The Mutiny of the Thunder (1878) by W. S. Hayward, one of the authors discussed in Judith Flanders's June 18th TLS article.

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