Female Detective: The Original Lady Detective, 1864 (paperback)
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 Mrs 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 7 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.
This edition includes an introduction by Mike Ashley and a foreword by Alexander McCall Smith.Also available as a Kindle ebook. About the author Andrew Forrester is the pseudonym of James Redding Ware (1832– c.1909). During his early career he wrote a number of detective stories. Others included Secret Service, or, Recollections of a City Detective (1864), The Private Detective and Revelations of the Private Detective (both c.1868). He also wrote a story called A Child Found Dead: Murder or No Murder, which features in The Female Detective, and is an analysis of the Constance Kent murder case described in the best-selling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (Kate Summerscale, 2010). Reviews `Literary ancestor to Miss Marple, Lisbeth Salander and Nancy Drew, the redoubtable Miss Gladden – the first ever female detective in British fiction – is set to make her reappearance after almost 150 years out of print.` Alison Flood, The Guardian`There are seven stories in this volume, all providing an interesting read, throwing light on the detective fiction of the day. They have stood the test of time and make this book a must for lovers of detective fiction.` Bill Spence, Yorkshire Gazette & Herald`Has a claim to mark the beginning of a rich and continuing tradition in crime literature.` The Independent