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Mr Bazalgette's Agent (paperback)

Published Date:
September 2013
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Paperback, 144 pages, 190x132mm
Leonard Merrick, introduction by Mike Ashley
Free UK P&P for orders over £15

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‘Here is a business where breeding must be a recommendation .... Here is a work where beauty is a passport’

When Miriam Lea falls on hard times, an advertisement for private agents catches her eye, and within weeks she finds herself in Mr Bazalgette’s employ as a private detective, travelling on a train to Hamburg in pursuit of an audacious fraudster. What follows is a journey through some of the great cities of Europe – and eventually to South Africa - as Miss Lea attempts to find her man.

Miriam Lea is only the third ever professional female detective to appear in a work of crime fiction. Originally published in 1888, Mr Bazalgette’s Agent presents a determined and resourceful heroine in the figure of Miss Lea, who grapples with some very modern dilemmas of female virtue and vice.

Leonard Merrick said of the book, his first: ‘It’s a terrible book. It’s the worst thing I ever wrote. I bought them all up and destroyed them. You can’t find any.’ It seems Merrick was true to his word since copies of the book can now only be found in private collections and in a handful of university and national libraries throughout the world. This new edition offers the modern crime fiction fan an opportunity to rediscover an enticing and rare detective story.

This is the fourth title in the British Library Crime Classics series.

Also available as a Kindle ebook here

About the author
Leonard Merrick (1864–1939) was an English novelist. Although largely forgotten today, he was widely admired by his peers. J. M. Barrie called Merrick the `novelist`s novelist.` He wrote 12 novels as well as collections of short stories and plays. Many of his stories were made into films in the 1920s.

`a concise, captivating novel written in diary form that arrives in a handsome new edition with a bold literary claim – that of being the first British novel to feature a female detective.`

`It’s certainly worth a look... and I’m sure that fans of Victorian fiction will enjoy it.`

`Mr Bazalgette’s Agent is a brisk read, and very funny from page one`

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