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22gigantes.com - The Female Detective is the first novel in British fiction to feature a professional female detective. Written by Andrew Forrester, it was originally published in 1864. The protagonist is Miss Gladden, or 'G' as she is also known - the precursor to Miss Marple, Mma Ramotswe and Lisbeth Salander. Miss Gladden's deductive methods and energetic approach anticipate those of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and she can be seen as beginning a powerful tradition of female detectives in these seven short stories. 'G' uses similar methods to her male counterparts – she enters scenes of crime incognito, tracking down killers while trying to conceal her own tracks and her identity from others. 'G', the first female detective, does much physical detective work, examining crime scenes, looking for clues and employing all manner of skill, subterfuge, observation and charm solve crimes. Like Holmes, 'G' regards the regular constabulary with disdain. For all the intrigue and interest of the stories, little is ever revealed about 'G' herself, and her personal circumstances remain a mystery throughout. But it is her ability to apply her considerable energy and intelligence to solve crimes that is her greatest appeal, and the reappearance of the original lady detective will be welcomed by fans of crime fiction.
Best Review of The Female Detective: A British Library Crime Classic (british Library Crime Classics Book 1):
Most helpful customer reviews 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. Some of the stories in this set of interlocking pieces are better than others but the bottom line is that this ... By kathleen g It's hard to evaluate reissues of novels because we have different expectations today and the writing style is just so different. Some of the stories in this set of interlocking pieces are better than others but the bottom line is that this is mostly interesting as a curiosity. THanks to netgalley for the ARC. A devoted reader of British mysteries might appreciate this. 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Enigmatic Pioneer Female Detective By Merrilee I received this book through NetGalley in expectation of a fair review, which follows. This is a most noteworthy book, due in good part to its significance in literary history. Written in 1864, we are told this is the first appearance of a professional female detective in British fiction. It starts out with abundant openers. First, a Foreword by Alexander McCall Smith, addresses the appeal of the female detective as a literary character. He has, of course, given us his own memorable example in the redoubtable Mma Precious Ramotswe. Then, the Introduction by Mike Ashley gives us a short but informative review of the literature of notable appearances by female detectives.Bu now feeling thoroughly introduced, we nonetheless encounter yet another introduction in the book’s first chapter, “The Female Detective: Introduction.” Here we meet the book’s narrator, an enigmatic, somewhat prickly person who declines to state her name, offer any personal particulars, or even the precise reason for her writing this volume in the first place. She does make a rather startling assertion that she knows that her trade is “despised.” She describes her role as “police spy” or “eavesdropper,” yet she proceeds with earnestness and near-evangelical zeal to inform us of the value of her profession. FD assumes a public role of dressmaker, and uses pseudonyms such as “Miss Gladden” or “G”. Very well, as she chooses to be so mysterious, I shall henceforth refer to her in this review as “FD”.Well! Once through all that introductory material, what about the book itself? This is a loosely connected collection of stories, some told by FD, some told by others and provided to us by FD. This is surely a different world that FD reveals to us. The first story, and one of the book’s longest, “Tenant for Life” tells a tale of infants bought and sold for small sums, desperately unhappy and needy women, a substantial inheritance, and FD’s early discovery that things are not as they seem. FD finds herself with a dilemma: she seeks justice, but where, she wonders, is the real justice in the story as it unfolds? Her journey leads ultimately to a conclusion that “it all came right at last, and no man was punished in order to procure justice.”The second story, “Georgy” is a character study of a charming teen-age sociopath. The third, “The Unraveled Mystery” presents FD’s step-by-step examination of a never-solved case, followed by her conclusions. The exhaustive logical process of this chapter in some respects presages the future exercises in deduction of the prodigiously perceptive Sherlock Holmes. “The Judgment of Conscience” relates the unhappy tale of a shoemaker, John Kamp, aged thirty. The theme of the following chapter, “A Child Found Dead: Murder or No Murder?” is well summarized in its title. This is an unfinished narrative given to FD, we are told, by a “medical man” of her acquaintance. I am uncertain of the author's purpose in providing this fragmentary story which ends abruptly and thus inconclusively.The penultimate chapter, “The Unknown Weapon,” relates FD’s experiences with the coroner’s case of avaricious Squire Petleigh. There is some effort made by the author to bring human interest to this tale, unlike the grey flatness that characterizes some earlier chapters. (In those stories I was irresistibly reminded of Jack Webb’s ”just the facts” character, Sgt. Joe Friday, in the 20th-century “Dragnet” series.) Here, we meet a central character, Mrs. Quinion, and Dinah Yarton, a witness subject to fits. Dinah’s testimony is portrayed in a near-incomprehensible dialect, while the busybody Mrs. Green, “the most incorrigible talker” ever encountered by FD, is described endearingly: “She was wonderful, this Mrs. Green.”The last story, “The Mystery” is described by FD as a grotesque incident that she has consequently portrayed it in “a grotesque, maybe even an extravagant, form.” Be that as it may, what follows is perhaps the most entertaining chapter of the book. We meet 18-year-old Nelly, badgered by her father, Old Bang, to marry a wealthy man who is both unattractive and elderly. But the resourceful Nelly declines to do her father’s bidding--and thus our story begins. The author sees fit to inject humor into this tale by assigning odd quirks to certain characters, reminiscent of Dinah’s fits in an earlier chapter. Thus we encounter Mrs. Bang, who fears an attack of tic-doloreux when her anxiety is aroused, and her servant Mary, who is “subject to staggers.” I have no idea what “the staggers” might be in today’s terminology, unless we are to infer that Mary is over fond of strong spirits? But it seems doubtful that the excellent Mrs. Bang would countenance such unseemly behavior in a maidservant. In any case, the story has an “odd” outcome. Notably, at one point FD makes reference of case similarities to aspects of an Edgar Allen Poe storySo, with that quirky tale, the book ends. What did I think of all this? With all its worthiness and historical significance, it was for me a tedious and not very enjoyable read. FD often sounds like an old-time schoolmarm, and while reading the tales I sometimes felt I was being lectured. But I commend Poison Pen Press for bringing it to us. It is after all, quite enlightening to view this first effort of the genre. 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Interesting By Leyla This book has fabulous historic value of the writing of the time, both in writing style and how stories where told. I found the stories very different to todays fast pace reads, and the wordsmanship in this book taken very seriously. It was a little slow in places but the stories were well though out and enjoyable to read - certainly not the typical slash and burn type of book. This book was provided to me in return for an honest and unbiased review See all 19 customer reviews...
The stories are varied in subject and style; some are recognizable as traditional detective fiction, some more anecdotal and not directly related to Miss B. I enjoyed reading them all. (Nancy A Bekofske The Literate Quilter)This book is going to make a lot of literary critics and scholars happy because there’s so much to dig through. (Annie Smith A Bookish Type)This book has fabulous historic value of the writing of the time, both in writing style and how stories where told. (NetGalley)The latest reprint in the British Library Crime Classics is one of the earliest: a cycle of stories about a London detective first published in 1864, here introduced by Alexander McCall Smith, who ventures general remarks about female detectives, and Mike Ashley, who supplies some uncommonly informative historical background. Even her closest friends think she's a milliner, but Miss Gladden—not her real name, but "the name I assume most frequently while in my business" —can look back with pride on her secret career as a professional inquiry agent with a subtly shifting relationship to the Metropolitan Police. In "The Unknown Weapon," her inquiries help the police discover who murdered young squire Graham Petleigh in his father's manor house. In "The Judgment of Conscience," she's able to set the police straight about a lower-class romantic triangle that ends in tragedy. In "Tenant for Life," her unofficial investigation, launched when she overhears a friend's chance remark to her cabman husband about "Little Fourpenny Number Two way," uncovers a plot to defraud the legal heir of a sizable estate. And her only role in the fact-based "A Child Found Dead: Murder Or No Murder" is to introduce a doctor friend who introduces his own childhood friend, Hardal, who does the sleuthing honors when a young boy taken from his bed is found dead nearby. "Georgy" ruefully recounts a blithe embezzler's success in eluding both his conscience and any legal consequences of his theft. The most strikingly modern notes struck throughout all the stories, in fact, are Miss Gladden's frequent failure to bring wrongdoers to justice and her regrets over the outcomes of her cases. The creaking dialogue and halting, step-by-step-by-step deductions, which guarantee a glacial pace, will keep most of the curious at bay; this is no overlooked gem. But feminists and historical completists, the most likely readers to persevere, will find themselves amply rewarded by detective tales that more often focus on how and why than whodunit. (Kirkus)It's easy to read and quite enjoyable. (NetGalley)Another fantastic classic from the British library classic crime collection. I can never fail to be riveted by these titles and the Female Detective is no exception. Perfect for fans of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. A engrossing classic crime to keep readers old and new alike hooked and booked for hours. (NetGalley)There are plenty of touches of humour and an excellent knowledge of human nature in the stories (Jill Weekes Jillysheep)I liked flow and her use of the English language in setting the mood and the characters. (Arlene Caney NetGalley)The Female Detective is the first novel in British fiction to feature a professional female detective. Written by Andrew Forrester, it was originally published in 1864. The protagonist is Miss Gladden, or ‘G’ as she is also known the precursor to Miss Marple, Mma Ramotswe and Lisbeth Salander. Miss Gladden’s deductive methods and energetic approach anticipate those of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and she can be seen as beginning a powerful tradition of female detectives in these seven short stories. ‘G’ uses similar methods to her male counterparts she enters scenes of crime incognito, tracking down killers while trying to conceal her own tracks and her identity from others. ‘G’, the first female detective, does much physical detective work, examining crime scenes, looking for clues and employing all manner of skill, subterfuge, observation and charm solve crimes. Like Holmes, ‘G’ regards the regular constabulary with disdain. For all the intrigue and interest of the stories, little is ever revealed about ‘G’ herself, and her personal circumstances remain a mystery throughout. But it is her ability to apply her considerable energy and intelligence to solve crimes that is her greatest appeal, and the reappearance of the original lady detective will be welcomed by fans of crime fiction. (NetGalley) About the Author Andrew Forrester was the pseudonym of James Redding Ware (1832–1909). Among his other books were Revelations of a Private Detective (1863) and Secret Service, or Recollections of a City Detective (1864).
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