The Female Detective

Andrew Forrester (Author)
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Product Details

Poisoned Pen Press
Publish Date
August 02, 2016
5.3 X 1.0 X 8.2 inches | 0.55 pounds

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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).


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 "
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 "
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
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