Saturday, January 14, 2017
Hope you enjoy this article from the Speed City Sisters in Crime Blog!
THE FIRST FICTIONAL FEMALE DETECTIVE
Who was the First Fictional Female Detective in Literature? C. V. Rhodes, co-author of the Grandmothers, Incorporated cozy mystery book series did some on-line investigation and here's what she found.
According to the website Crime Fiction Lover (www.crimefictionlover.com) the character's name was Mrs. Gladden, featured in a series of serials called The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester. Mrs. Gladden was an undercover police agent who employed "subterfuge and logical deduction" to solve cases. Set in London, England, the serials were published in 1864. The work was definitely fiction since women weren't recruited to London's Metropolitan Police until 1923.
The website states that a few months later a second English writer, William Stephens Hayward, wrote another series of serial adventures featuring a woman protagonists named Mrs. Paschal. In Revelations of a Lady Detective, Mrs. Paschal was a cigarette smoking, gun toting sleuth who takes her crinoline petticoat off to go down a sewer. That was racy stuff in 1864.
It wasn't until 1888 that the first British novel featuring a female protagonist was published. Described as a poorly written work of fiction, the name of the book was Mr. Bazalgette's Agent, by Leonard Merrick.
It was a female author, Metta Victoria Fuller Victor, who wrote the first full length detective novel in America. Published in the 1860s, ironically, her protagonist was a young attorney named Richard Redfield, a man. It's with Redfield's help that a legendary detective from New York City--another man--solves a crime. Go figure.
Visit the Grandmothers, Incorporated cozy mystery series website at www.grandmothersinc.com