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Just as Conan Doyle was trying to get rid of Holmes, the first woman author to create a woman detective broke into print: Loveday Brooke, by Catherine Louisa Pirkis, in — Over the next sixteen years, four more women detectives followed, though only one more was the work of a woman author. Dorcas Dene was the creation of George R. Sims in Most of these women detectives turn to detective work because they need money to support themselves or their families, or they want to prove the innocence of someone close to them.

Not much is known about Catherine Louisa Pirkis other than her prodigious output of dozens of stories and fourteen novels. Her seven detective stories were originally published in the Ludgate Monthly and collected in the volume The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective in Loveday Brooke, probably in her thirties, comes from the upper classes, but she has been left penniless and makes a living working for a detective agency headed by Ebenezer Dyer.

She is very proper and nearly always wears a simple black dress.


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She has a sharp mind and uses the traditional methods of rationality and close observation to solve mysteries, which include theft, a mysterious murder for which the police inevitably suspect the wrong person, missing persons, and so forth. Unlike the male detectives, as a woman, she is able to enter the middle- and upper-class houses where the crimes are committed without raising suspicion frequently by disguising herself as a housemaid or a governess and thus is able to uncover mysteries and crimes the male policemen cannot. The same advantage is given to George R. She begins as an actress but ultimately works as a private investigator, encouraged by a retired superintendent of police, in order to support herself, her mother, and her husband an artist who loses his sight.

She is much like Sherlock Holmes, good at disguises, ratiocination, and following physical clues, and she has her own Watson, a dramatist named Saxon. Lois Cayley was the creation of Grant Allen, a well-known author during the s and perhaps best known now as the author of the New Woman novel The Woman Who Did , that is, the woman who chooses to live with man and have a child by him without being married.

Rather, as a detective, she ends triumphantly. Quite appropriately, she tells her own story.

Dr Christopher Pittard

In the final episode, she rescues her beloved Harold Tillington from a plot against him. Like Lois Cayley, she is educated a graduate of Cambridge with a medical degree , beautiful, and adventurous. She becomes a detective when she saves her companion, an older woman, from a blackmailer. In , Bodkin published The Capture of Paul Beck , in which his two detectives appear as rivals in a case, but at the end they marry, thus becoming the first husband-and-wife detective team. The last of the women detectives during this interregnum between Sherlock Holmes and the golden age is Lady Molly of Scotland Yard.

She married an Englishman and began writing to help support her family. She is best known as the author of the Scarlet Pimpernel historical novels, but she also wrote two detective series, The Old Man in the Corner — and Lady Molly of Scotland Yard — Most of the stories that make up these two series were first published in the Royal Magazine starting in and then collected into volumes. Her advantage in solving that first case when the male detectives could not is that she is able to recognize clues in common domestic activities.

One of the first of the armchair detectives, he solves all his cases while sitting in the A. A young woman journalist, Polly Burton, tells him details from cases that the police cannot make sense of and also narrates his cases for the reader, though when the early cases are collected into a volume, they are all narrated in the third person. He solves them all without leaving his corner table and, perhaps due to his contempt for the police, does not bring the perpetrators to justice. The first six stories, published in the Royal Magazine in , were followed by seven more in and a few more in The third group was the first to appear as a volume, The Case of Miss Elliott , named after the first story, in The first two series were finally published in volume form as The Old Man in the Corner in Figure 5.

Christopher Pittard, Purity and Contamination in Late Victorian Detective Fiction

Austin Freeman in and this was followed four more volumes of collected stories. Freeman himself was a doctor who served in Africa and World War I. His detective, Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke, first appears in eight stories in which he uses his medical skills and diagnostic technology—like the microscope and chemical analysis—aided by his laboratory assistant, Nathaniel Polton, and his friend Christopher Jervis, the narrator of the stories, to solve crimes. The Dr. Thorndyke stories. There were two more collections in and He thus serves as a bridge between the 19th-century beginnings and 20th-century developments.

P.D. James & Colin Dexter Talking About Detective Fiction

As a Roman Catholic priest, Father Brown is one of the first detectives identified by something other than his detective skills. He is an outsider of sorts in both the history of detective fiction and in the rural countryside village in Essex where he lives. With his identifying umbrella, he looks harmless enough--somewhat eccentric, dumpy in appearance, and seemingly scatter-brained.

These superficial traits serve him well as a detective, for on first sight no one thinks him capable of solving crimes. But he has razor-sharp Holmesian powers of observation and logical thinking. Father Brown, who is carrying a valuable silver cross set with sapphires, tricks Flambeau, whom he decides is a criminal by observing a bulge in his coat, into trying to steal the cross which Father Brown manages to send to a friend , and leaves a trail salt in the sugar bowl, cup thrown at a restaurant wall, and so forth for Valentin and the police to use to follow him and Flambeau, who is then captured.

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Eleven stories followed this one and were collected into the volume The Innocence of Father Brown in During the 19th century, some detective stories may have been mentioned or even discussed in the periodical press, especially to take account of the popularity of the genre. Some authors of detective fiction and a few literary critics began to write about the genre as a genre in the early decades of the 20th century.

The authors of these articles and books generally drew their examples from all of detective fiction—19th century, 20th century, British, American, and French. Starting after World War II, literary critics and some sociologists turned their attention to the genre with a number of important studies. In the second half of the 20th century and under the pressures of feminism and the academic interest in the role of popular literature in culture, an expansion of writing about and publishing of 19th-century British detective fiction resulted. All these approaches to detective fiction proliferated in the 21st century, particularly the postcolonial lens.

The early critical studies of detective fiction were often written by authors of detective fiction.

Books also received

After the hiatus of the war and the flourishing of the golden age in the s, another book-length study was Masters of Mystery: A Study of the Detective Story , by H. Douglas Thomson A more comprehensive survey was a collection of essays by different writers and critics edited by Howard Haycraft in , Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story. This collection contains most of the serious work on the genre prior to World War II. In the s and s, the critical attention increased again, this time in universities.

Julian Symons, himself a crime fiction writer, produced Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel in revised and updated in and and published in the United States as Mortal Consequences , which is regarded by some as the best introductory material to study of the genre. In a collection of critical essays edited by Robin Winks, Detective Fiction: A Collection of Critical Essays , brought together some of the more well-known commentaries on the genre. The 19th-century texts discussed in these surveys are those of Poe and Conan Doyle, as well as Dickens and Collins.

In fact, most often 19th-century British detective fiction was only one part of the midth-century detective studies, and the focus is almost always on Poe and Conan Doyle. For example, the important study of the structures, themes, and consequences of popular culture, Adventure, Mystery, and Romance , by John G. Cawelti, has two of nine chapters on the classical detective story, but the only 19th-century texts used in the analyses are those of Poe and Conan Doyle.

Another important work, Form and Ideology in Crime Fiction , by Stephen Knight , also limited the examples from the 19th century to Poe and Holmes. Stowe , which contained studies by most of the important post—World War II literary theorists, a number of whom used the Sherlock Holmes stories as the exemplars of their theoretical approaches. Sebeok, was published. Abduction, which they argue is the mental process Holmes actually uses, is a process of arriving at the most likely but not necessarily the absolute conclusion that can be drawn from an observation.

By the end of the 20th century, the place of detective fiction in the literary canon was well established, the role of women in its development revealed, its usefulness for theoretical investigation secured. Many bibliographies, companions, reference works, and anthologies as well as various critical studies have continued to be published. There are a great many websites that are devoted to detective fiction, detective fiction authors, and characters. Also many of the individual detective stories can be read online. One needs only to search for a name, a title, or a term for most of these online resources to come up.

Below are a few specific online sites that are quite good as introductions to the subject of British detective fiction from to Find this resource:. Humpherys, Anne. Pittard, Christopher. Radford, Andrew. Sutherland, John. Allan, Janice M. Benstock, Bernard, and Thomas F. Stalley, eds. British Mystery Writers — Dictionary of Literary Biography Detroit: Gale Research, Clarke, Clare. Basingstoke, U. Cranfield, Jonathan. Twentieth-Century Victorian: A.

Doyle and the Strand Magazine. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, Flanders, Judith. New York: St. Hutter, A. Kayman Martin. Knight, Stephen. Crime Fiction since Detectives, Death, Diversity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Miller, Elizabeth Carolyn.

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, Moretti, Franco. New York: Verso, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, Priestman, Martin, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction. Cambridge, U. Rzepka, Charles. Detective Fiction. Sussex, Lucy.