Read The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester Alexander McCall Smith Mike Ashley Online

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In 1864, the British writer James Redding Ware (1832–c.1909), under the pseudonym Andrew Forrester, published The Female Detective, introducing readers to the first professional female detective character, G., and paving the way for the more famous female detectives of the early twentieth century, namely Miss Marple and Nancy Drew. This edition from the British Library makIn 1864, the British writer James Redding Ware (1832–c.1909), under the pseudonym Andrew Forrester, published The Female Detective, introducing readers to the first professional female detective character, G., and paving the way for the more famous female detectives of the early twentieth century, namely Miss Marple and Nancy Drew. This edition from the British Library makes The Female Detective available for the first time as a trade paperback for the general public.           Characteristic of the casebooks of the time, The Female Detective features a number of different cases, each of which is narrated by G. She uses methods similar to those of her male counterparts, examining the scene of the crime, looking for clues, and employing skill and subterfuge to achieve her ends, all the while trying to conceal her own tracks and her identity from others. Her deductive methods anticipate those of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, who would not appear for another twenty years, and like Holmes, she 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 energetic and savvy approach to solving crimes that is her greatest appeal, and the reappearance of the original lady detective will captivate a new generation of crime fiction fans....

Title : The Female Detective
Author :
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ISBN : 9780712358781
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 316 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Female Detective Reviews

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-02-21 06:52

    I can't really give a number on this one but it's somewhere between like a 2.8 and a 3. I was just so disappointed, which hasn't been my reaction to any book up to now in my history of mystery reading project. Having finished this book now, I have to say that out of the seven stories in this book, there are only four in which the "female detective" plies her craft. It's rather disappointing, when I think about it, since it seems to me that if you're going to write about a woman detective this early on in the crime fiction/detective fiction/mystery game, each and every story should involve a woman doing detecting. But no. Technically speaking, since the woman here is "regarded as the first female professional detective to appear in fiction," one might think that the male author would have given her an entire volume of her own, but no. Sheesh -- even for the Victorian era that's messed up. There is much more about what I think of this book and its obvious follow-up, Revelations of a Lady Detectiveat my crime-reading journal. Cautiously recommended, but only because of its milestone status in the history of crime/mystery/detection reading.

  • Damaskcat
    2019-03-02 01:11

    This is a collection of short stories featuring Mrs Gladden - the first female detective. The book is primarily of interest because it shows how crimes could be detected by deduction and by meticulous collection of evidence. Mrs Gladden has a huge advantage over her male counterparts in that she is not generally regarded with suspicion because she is female. She has another profession as a milliner and as such she can go into houses where she makes and repairs hats and can sit and chat with the servants and accumulate a lot of information about the household without appearing to do so.She is good at talking to people and finding out their stories and people seem to warm to her and tell her things they might not tell anyone else. I particularly like the story which is very similar to the Road House Mystery - which was covered in detail by Kate Summerscale in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. I also like the last story in the book - The Mystery - which made me laugh.This book starts off slowly and is written in a rather more ponderous style than modern readers are used to but it is worth persevering as I found I really got into the stories once I slowed down my reading speed in order to appreciate what was being said. There are plenty of touches of humour and an excellent knowledge of human nature in the stories. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

  • Lorena
    2019-03-16 02:12

    Interesting for its historical significance, for the most part, and for explicitly acknowledging the private spaces to which a woman would have access that a man would not. Also interesting as a perfect encapsulation of the early Victorian versions of what constitutes a "happy" (or at least satisfying) ending...inconvenient children not born to the appropriate parents under the appropriate circumstances die young before they can inherit; legal but morally suspect heirs drop dead (apparent cause of death: too much sin-iness) and divert the course of succession into more appropriate channels, and, of course, law breakers with justice but not the law on their side commit honorable suicide before they can be taken to jail in disgrace. Happy!

  • Bev
    2019-02-26 07:06

    The Female Detective was published in 1864. Written by James Redding Ware under the pseudonym Andrew Forrester, it not only represents what is probably the first stories about the Metropolitan Police (formed in 1829) but also introduces readers to the first professional female detective in fiction. She is unnamed in the longest story, "The Unknown Weapon," but in other stories by Forrester, she is referred to as Mrs. G---- of the Metropolitan Police. She makes reference to herself and another female officer as constables...and I find it interesting to have references to female constables at this early dateMrs. G---- generally works undercover and only represents herself as a detective when she must. We learn very little about her--later female detectives will be described as falling into their profession out of need, either to support themselves or loved ones in reduced circumstances. But we don't even learn that much about Mrs. G----. The stories themselves are very casebook in nature, running true to the form of other casebooks of the time. Like her male counterparts, she uses professional methods--hunting for clues, looking over the scene of the crime, questioning suspects, and using cunning and disguise to reach her conclusions. But not all of her cases are great successes. She tells at least two stories where the culprit gets away and she isn't shy about relating the shortcomings of the police force of the time.In "Tenant for Life" Mrs. G--- becomes interested in a story that her friends the Flemps tell her. Mr. Flemps is a driver and while out driving one evening a poor young women approaches him and asks him to take her child to raise (as she cannot afford to). Flemps has no sooner taken the child and started on his way again when another young woman approaches him--first to hire him for transport, but then when he refuses to ask if he has seen a young woman with a child. The child in his carriage cries and the woman is ecstatic to have found the child and pays Flemps to take the child away. Mrs. G---- is intrigued by the story and feels sure that someone somewhere is up to no good. She determines to get to the bottom of the story and by the end she knows that it involves the rightful heir of some very important property."Georgy" relays one of the failures. Georgy is a clerk at a local bank. He manages to abscond with a goodly sum and does so in a fashion that makes it impossible for the authorities to catch up with him. Mrs. G---- tells us the particulars of the case to let her readers know that criminals maybe the most charming of fellows and completely fool the most cunning of detectives (namely, Mrs. G----). "The Unraveled Mystery" is about a mysterious carpet bag that appears on one of the Thames bridges. It contains bits of human remains, but no head. The official police are baffled and seem unable to solve the mystery Mrs. G----'s colleague, Dr. Y----, comes to tell Mrs. G--- about his theory about the case. We also have one of the first instances where we are told in a detective story that the use of a knife indicates that the murderer/s must be foreign. Englishmen just don't use knives, you know. "The Judgement of Conscience" is a shorter work. In this one, Mrs. G---- insists on ballistic evidence being examined. Her insistence saves an innocent man from being hanged for a crime he did not commit."A Child Found Dead: Murder or No Murder" is an odd little tale. Mrs. G--- is not really the detective here. She relays the story as told to her by Dr. Y----. A young child is killed and the reader is asked to believe that the killer struck while sleepwalking. If true (I'm not convinced), does that make the killing murder? Can somebody be convicted for murder for a death caused while they are sleepwalking? I don't know how to answer that one. But it doesn't really matter to me, because I don't really believe that someone would kill under those circumstances."The Unknown Weapon" is the longest of the stories. It is about the death of the son of a miserly old man who is killed while apparently in the the process of breaking into his own father's house. He has been stabbed with a weapon that no seems to be able to identify. Mrs. G---- is a thoroughly scientific detective in this outing, reminding the reader of Holmes. Had she the advantages of his training at university, I'm sure she would have examined her own bits of fluff under the microscope rather than sending them off in a tin box and directing "it to the gentleman who is good enough to control these kind of investigations." She faithfully takes up every piece of evidence, giving it a more thorough going-over than the local constable, looks over the scene of the crime, and thinks the problem through with logic that Holmes could not fault. There is no "feminine intuition" at work; it is a thoughtful, orderly investigation. The grand finale is a bit of a let-down--but over all a very good early detective story."The Mystery"is the final and shortest of the entries. It's not really much of a mystery at all. A young woman is told by her father that she must marry the man he has chosen or he will lock her in her room until she complies. She is in love with someone else and refuses to obey her father. She manages to get a message to her love and then escapes from the locked room. How she got out and what happens next is the only (tiny) mystery that needs explained.The best story is "The Unknown Weapon." It ranks at four stars--balancing the entire collection out at a solid three-star rating.This was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.

  • russell barnes
    2019-02-25 04:01

    This is a rum do and no mistake. Plucked from the British Library's archives, the problem with this collection is one of false advertising: In the back of your mind, driven by the blurb and introductions (including one Alexander McCall Smith must have knocked off at the wrong end of a bottle of gin) is the much-heralded lineage of narrator, "Mrs G" as the eponymous - and first ever - literary female detective and ancestor to Miss Marple, Mma Ramotswe, and (apparently) Lisabeth Salandar.Whilst this may be true, it raises some unfair expectations of Forrester/Ware's tales. We are not treated to a torrent of Marplean deductions, we don't see Mrs G using her female wiles to circumnavigate the law to bring in the bad guys - in fact of the six stories I think she only manages to capture one or two culprits at best. She does drink and chat an awful lot, so maybe the Ramotswe comparison is a fair one.Instead of ground-shaking literary fair it feels like you're reading a selection of blood-curdling crimes rendered into particularly tedious crime reports from vaults of Queen Victoria's Peelers, complete with the convoluted English so beloved by the Met today.

  • Annie
    2019-03-15 07:09

    There is a not insignificant portion of the bookish world that seeks out the first instance of particular characters and genres. Because I am a trivia hound, I follow scholars who try to identify the first novel (probably The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shibiku, depending on how you define it), the first science fiction story (probably The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish), etc. etc. The first time I tried to chase down the first instance of something happened after reading “The Purloined Letter,” by Edgar Allan Poe. This story is one of the first recognizable detective stories that I know of, published in 1844. Andrew Forrester’s The Female Detective is probably the first collection of stories featuring a woman who works as a professional detective. It was originally published 1863-1864. I’ve been eager to read it since I first spotted a reference to this collection a few months ago...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.

  • Heather
    2019-03-08 01:53

    It was incredibly interesting to read a Victorian take on the female detective. I think fans of historical novels will like this a lot, but if you are going into this expecting an early Miss Marple, you will be disappointed. This isn't that kind of novel; a cozy mystery. This is a collection of tales from the career of this Female Detective. The stories don't follow the the normal pattern of more modern detective tales, so don't expect a complete beginning, middle, and end. But if you are interested in a historical take on female detectives and don't mind more open-ended stories, check this one out. **I received this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

  • Mary
    2019-03-19 01:55

    The first British mystery with a female detective, published in 1864. Just came out this year by Poisoned Pen Press. Not beautifully written but you get used to the style. Two novellas and six short stories. The detective earns some of her money from the new London police force, on the QT and some as a milliner but she seems to have independent means. She avoids identifying herself as a detective, getting her information on the strength of her wits. I don't think I'd recommend you rush out and buy it, but it's nice to know it exists.

  • Christopher Roden
    2019-02-24 09:20

    First published in 1864, this collection of stories from the British Library archive present England's first female detectiveWhile historically interesting, the cases presented are narrations in method, and generally no one is brought to book as a consequence of the investigations.The language and style is very much mid-Victorian and this is a book very much of its time.

  • Argum
    2019-03-12 05:08

    Not sure what I expected from this book, but was curious what the worlds first female detective fiction looked like. I thought it was interesting and maybe it fits better in its own time period than modern stories, but it seemed a bit pat. Some stories just ended - oh I set out to tell the story of the weapon not how I escaped to tell the tell. That just seems like cheating to me. Sometimes it was unclear exactly who was telling the story - not that it didn't say but what was the point, she didn't do anything just relayed another's tale. Some was interesting material but seemed to just wave hands voila rather than develop the mystery. Glad I read for the sake of curiousity but not for the stories themselves

  • Molly
    2019-03-14 05:17

    3.5 stars

  • Kat Walter
    2019-03-17 04:17

    Interesting, but not pleasurable, read.

  • Nancy
    2019-02-19 06:16

    The Female Detective was published in 1864 when law enforcement organizations were cutting edge. Mike Ashley's introduction to The Female Detective notes the first British police agency was organized in 1829 and Scotland Yard was created in 1842. Edgar Allen Poe introduced the first detective in fiction in 1841. Alan Pinkerton employed the first woman detective in 1856. The character of 'Miss B', undercover police agent, was novel and original.The Female Detective stories were written by Andrew Forrester, the pen name of writer and editor James Redding Ware. His unnamed heroine addresses the reader to explain the importance of her secretive work and justify the role of the female spy in society.Who am I?It can matter little who I am.I would have my readers at once accept my declaration that whatever may be the results of the practice of my profession in others, in me that profession has not led me towards hardheartedness. For what reason do I write this book?...I may as well say at once I write in order to show, in a small way, that the profession to which I belong is so useful that it should not be despised.Seven stories follow, some showing how our female detective operates, some are stories she has heard, and the last story is a comedic delight that is quite Dickensian in humor. Her purpose is to broadly illustrate the importance of the detective.Miss B predates Sherlock Holmes but uses the same logical thinking to puzzle out her cases. She posses as a milliner or takes up local residence to gain access to her subject. She cross-examines in the guise of a friendly ear. Then she makes her deduction and sets out for proof.Her powers of observation are astute. Boot marks "have sent more men to the gallows, as parts of circumstantial evidence than any other proof whatever," Miss B proclaims. She advises evildoers to carry a second pair of boots to wear while committing their crime! She explains what she calls the "audacity of hiding," that the safest hiding place is the most obvious, citing "the great enigma-novelist, Edgar Poe" who illustrated this when a man places a letter in a card-rack on the mantelpiece when he knows his house will be searched....the value of the detective lies not so much in discovering facts, as in putting them together and finding out what they mean.Because our female detective is not heartless, but is committed to the law, she can find herself faced with perplexing moral choices. She places her duty above pity.A man is your friend, but if he transgresses that law which it is your duty to see observed, you have no right to spare him...She accuses the English police system as requiring "more intellect infused into it. Many of the men are extraordinarily acute and are able to seize facts as they rise to the surface. But they are unable to work out what is below the surface."I enjoyed the sense of humor in the writing, often at the expense of her male coequals. "I found out the constable, and I am constrained to say--a greater fool I never indeed did meet. He was too stupid to be anything else than utterly, though idiotically, honest."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.I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  • Judy Lesley
    2019-03-19 08:06

    I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press.The detective/mystery novel is my favorite type of novel to read. Add into that mix a story set in an historical setting and I'm ready to settle in and enjoy myself. I also like to read this type of book to learn more about the history of the mystery genre. This book was published in 1864 and now the first e-book edition will be released by Poisoned Pen Press and the British Library in 2016. There is a Foreword written by Alexander McCall Smith where he talks about female detectives in literature and an Introduction by Mike Ashley which zeros in on this particular female detective, "G" or "Miss Gladden". I really wish I had not read the Introduction until I finished reading the stories. If you choose to read the book, you will see that Ashley reveals who the author of these stories was and I would have preferred to have that information withheld until after I had read all seven of the stories. There are seven actual cases, but the first chapter is written by the detective describing the circumstances and drawbacks for being a private investigator and being female.Okay, so on to the stories themselves. Sorry to say this but they weren't very good. Also hampering my enjoyment was the style in which the prose is presented. Understanding that this is the style of 1864 did not help with the pacing or the verbosity of the author. Here is a sample of the writing:"I find, by reference to the diary I have kept since I entered the service, and at which I work equally for pleasure, and to relieve my mind of particulars which would overweight it, for I may add that in this diary, which would be intolerable printed, I fix down every word of a case I hear, as closely as I can remember it, and every particular as near as I can shape it - I say I find, by reference to my diary, that it was the fourth Sunday I rode out with the Flempses, and the sixth week of my acquaintance with those people, whom upon the whole I found very respectable, that I got the first inkling of one of the best, even if one of the most dissatisfactory, cases in which I was ever engaged."If that style of writing is something you can abide or at least tolerate, this group of stories will be of some interest to you, even if it is purely from the historical progression of detective fiction from then until now. I found the stories to be much more concerning morality issues than follow-the-clues to solve a case. One story is not even finished. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in the history of the detective story. As mysteries to be solved, though, the verbosity and complexity of the prose style caused me to struggle to care enough to finish the book. I did read it all, but over a period of several days. That's almost unheard of for me to take that long to read a book with this few pages. As a study of historical interest it definitely deserves a three star rating, but not from the quality of the stories presented.

  • Sarah-Hope
    2019-02-20 02:18

    The Female Detective is a delightful piece of literary history. Originally published in May, 1864, it is believed to be the first book-length collection of detective stories featuring a female detective. The protagonist and narrator, who never tell us her name, but sometimes uses the aliases Mrs. Glasser or G, appeared at a time when women had not yet entered the ranks of British police, so in a sense these are not just detective stories, but alternate reality pieces as well. The fact that G lives in a world where other women work as police and as detectives adds to this alternate reality. She is exceptional in her skills, but not as exceptional in terms of her professional identity.The quality of the narration—and of the mysteries themselves—varies, but always avoids tedium. Two of the tales included are novella-length; the remainder are more typical short stories. In addition to recounting specific cases, G makes general observations about her profession: the detective’s habits of thought, the kinds of access to suspects and witnesses available to female detectives that is not available to their male peers. The prose can get turgid, but that is a marker of the time period more than a particular weakness of Andrew Forrester’s writing. In fact, most readers will find their vocabularies broadened by this reading, learning terms like defalcation, absquatulation, blague, doucer, and ukase. (For those who are interested, these are defined as embezzlement, an abrupt departure, nonsense, a bribe, and an arbitrary command.)G has the tone of later hard-boiled detectives. She notes bribing an informant: “my acts being of course illustrated with several silver portraits of her majesty the Queen.” One local character is pitied in “a small-beer kind of way.” In a statement both cynical and feminine she tells us “the public see the right side only of the police embroidery, and have no idea what a complication of mistakes and broken threads there are on the wrong.”Not surprisingly, class and nationality are frequently used to assess the reliability or worth of individuals. G tells us she will not reproduce the text of a suicide note “for it was badly spelt, and written in a highflown sentimental style, which might appear ridiculous to the more unthinking of my readers.” One story notes the “mutual candor” to be found among “men who have gone to school and been thrashed together.” A local police offices shows “rustic signs of impatience.”Of particularly interesting note is one case that hinges, in part, on a dog who doesn’t bark—this some thirty years before Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes will solve the case of “Silver Blaze” using a similar clue.The Female Detective is well worth a read for its own sake and for the perspectives it gives us on British life and gender roles in the mid-1800s. Poisoned Pen’s reissue of this title is a real gift to readers of detective fiction.

  • Annette
    2019-03-13 09:18

    THIS BOOK SHOULD ACTUALLY BE A 3-1/2 STAR BOOK.The book was originally written in 1864. That was the final year of the American Civil War. That was a year before President Lincoln was assassinated. That was the year Nevada was admitted to the Union as the 36th state. In other words, this was a long time ago. But, the ideas expressed and the descriptions of people and situations are very much as they would be today. The stories are credited to Andrew Forrester, but are believed to be a pseudonym for another James Ware. The female detective speaks to the reader as G. She uses an alias at times, but we are never provided her actual name. The detective never told people what she actually did for a living. Everyone believed she was a seamstress. She took pride in being successful in her work. Her methods of deduction would stand up to any fictional detective. She admits that the reason the public perception of detectives is a good one is because they do not publicize their failures.Detectives were generally people who worked for the police department, but not considered exactly police workers. These stories are interesting and some are based on cases which are believed to have been actual cases. This reader found this to be a well written book , about the only difference between stories written more recently and these stories would be the usage of speech and the method of description.All in all, I enjoyed the book. It provides a picture into the mind set of criminals in that long ago time. It seems that what people got up to in that time is almost the same as what people get up to today. Methods may be different, but the outcomes are the same.I think this book will appeal to anyone who is interested in history, or crime detection or women who are living lives that are amazingly liberated for their time period.Mr Forrester, or whoever actually wrote the book, has done a good job in creating stories which are entertaining, informative and just plain fun to read.I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in the hope that I would write a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • A.R. Collins
    2019-02-23 06:56

    I read this book as someone who bought it because there was a bonus loyalty points offer on British Library Crime Classics, and I thought this was the one to get because the social history would be interesting. Well, it is - and it's a cracking read too!It's a lighter read than many or most Victorian prose, which was nice, much as I love Jane Eyre and Dracula etc.; in this case the more economic use of words was a help, with a genre that I'm not particularly into. Our narrator breaks down the mysteries so that we can easily follow what has been going on, and her thought processes, and have a very good go at playing armchair detective ourselves. I suppose the shorter stories never quite live up to the standard of the two long ones, the opening 'Tenant for Life' and the penultimate 'The Unknown Weapon'. These in particular tell intriguing stories and are packed with colourful characters and a measure of humour. 'Miss Gladden' herself comes out with some great one-liners.How wonderful that a man wrote this book. Of course men can be feminists, even in Victorian times. Possibly Andrew Forrester/James Redding Ware was a little hard on the working classes, but we can't expect too many ideas ahead of his time, and he certainly had plenty of those. Despite the title, Miss Gladden being a female detective isn't even treated as a big deal; male and female characters are always presented in the narrative as people, on equal terms, and never defined by gender.I wish Forrester had written more stories about Miss Gladden, but sadly it seems he didn't, or if he did the stories are nowhere to be found now. Apparently he had thought of writing more, with 'Murder or No Murder' ending with a frustrating lack of resolution and a suggestion that Miss G might provide us with the sequel some time! So to sum up, this is great book, and I wish there was another.

  • Crittermom
    2019-03-17 09:15

    The Female Detective stands out because it is literally the first novel published that features a woman who is a professional detective, as opposed to an amateur. Her identity is obscured, as are the reasons she chose her profession. All readers are given is one of her aliases, Miss Gladden or “G”. Despite being written by a man, The Female Detective challenges the preconceived notion that a woman’s inherent sensitivity prevents her from comprehending the nature of criminals or applying justice. Instead, Forrester shows that women are capable of going where men are not and acquiring information which would otherwise go undiscovered. While the police only see what is right in view, “G” perceives the complexity of situations.The Female Detective is not a novel per se, rather it is a casebook, a collection of reminiscences which not only showcase “G” observational skills, but also her ability to blend in, applying deception where necessary. “G” is eminently capable, but not without sentiment, particularly when justice and law do not mesh.Various things contribute to the value of The Female Detective - the time it was written, its portrayal of the first female “professional” detective, and its challenging of the preconceived roles of women. While it might not have the excitement or panache of some modern works, The Female Detective is a forgotten gem that is definitely worth reading.4/5I received a copy of The Female Detective from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.—Crittermom

  • David Proffitt
    2019-03-05 05:54

    First published in 1864, The Female Detective is a book ahead of its time, as the first real female detectives were still half a century away. But that’s not all that is unusual about this book. For one thing, we never know the real name of the detective in question. She is referred to as Miss Gladden, but other than that she remains anonymous.Also, this is not one story but a selection of narratives, some too brief to be called short stories. And even those that are long enough can hardly be considered as anything more than notes. The cases themselves are very mixed, but the one thing they all have in common is that in none of them is the perpetrator of the crime brought to justice. Each case is in fact a mystery, with some being resolved, but with the culprit either beyond reach or dead. There is a little of the Sherlock Holmes about the way in which the detective pieces together clues from nothing. But for me the whole thing lacked any kind of cohesion and I never felt I was reading anything more than rough notes. Certainly, a couple of the tales could have been built on to produce a more typical crime thriller. As it is, I was very disappointed.The introduction and forward label this as a kind of classic. Sorry, but I don’t agree. Certainly it was ahead of its time, making the detective a woman, but the lack of any attempt to give the character any personality, or to bring some resolution to some of her cases just didn’t work for me.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-22 09:12

    "The Female Detective" is a mystery novel that was originally published in 1864 and is set in England. Miss Gladden is a professional, undercover detective. She's clever and usually assumes the role of a genteel woman on hard times until the arrest is about to be made.The style was of a memoir containing five cases that she solved and two that were of interest to her. The focus was on the facts of the case and her deductions from those facts, not on her as a person. It's like getting the final scene of the mystery, where the great detective takes everyone back through events and points out the important clues and what they meant.Since it's not really a guessing game, I found the historical aspects of the cases more interesting than the mysteries. For example, one case hinged on how a marriage settlement worked if the wife died before giving birth. Another involved identifying an unknown body. The cases ranged from murder and accidental death to robbery, fraud, and an escape from a locked room.The author liked to use dialect for lower class characters, though he usually made sure the reader understood what was meant. The writing in first story was a little choppy, but the rest flowed well. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel.I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  • Katherine
    2019-02-24 07:06

    This is the first I ever read of Andrew Forrester (or James R. Ware) and I wonder how it is his name is not more frequently mentioned in the genre (although I got an idea) Apparently these are the first stories ever published in English about a woman detective so that should give him some credit.On the other hand they are not really detective stories but more memoires from a woman who was either really good at her job or just very, VERY nosy. In not one of the stories she is actually asked to investigate the following case, she just… goes there and starts sleuthing. And even though she says she’s paid for her services as a detective agent it never appears on the page. In several cases she just leaves the situation as it is (after finding out all about it) because she ‘feels’ it’s the right thing to do (woman! You annoy me)This volume clearly is a collection of stories written over several years, rewritten and reworked to fit the title. Some are really good, ‘The Mystery’ is funny in a way none of the others were but over all there are no real surprises. Quite unsatisfactory as far as detective writing goes. (I have to honestly add here that most detective story fans (me! me! pick me!) are of course outrageously spoiled by The Great Agatha Christie, which influences the way we look upon earlier works. And I plead guilty.)

  • Mel
    2019-03-07 06:51

    I loved that this was a story about a woman detective that was written 50 years before there were any women detective. The author did a wonderful job of showing how great women would be as detectives and wrote as if there were already many women detectives and spies in the world which was really lovely. Rather than one long novel this was a series of short stories or cases that the detective did or didn't solve. I liked that sometimes she didn't figure it out till too late. Some of the cases were better than others, unfortunately one was just a letter she read written by two different men which wasn't as good but there were some lovely moments. The moral dilemma's were interesting too as she would always side with the law over her own views of what was "right" in a case. There were also a lot of stories set in the East End which I liked. It was interesting to read about Whitechapel before the Ripper murders. To see the lives of working people portrayed in a more realistic way. I'm very glad the British Library decided to re-print this and that I got a copy.

  • Faith
    2019-03-21 09:06

    A historically significant classic crime book featuring an early female sleuth. Published by the fabulous Poisoned Pen Press, The Female Detective is a great find for anyone interested in the history of crime fiction. Originally published in 1864, I’ve heard it claimed this is the first or one of the first female detective books.The main protagonist is a sort of female Sherlock Holmes who is vastly independent and courageous for the era.She holds to truth and justice at whatever the cost – even to an evil old man regaining his fortune from the kindest of people.I had a hard time connecting to her emotionally but as a beginning for the long line of female detectives this is a classic work.30-DAY E-BOOK LOAN COURTESY OF NETGALLEY.

  • Emma
    2019-03-19 03:13

    I liked it. It was great reading a detective story from the perspective of a female detective because it's something I've never read before, but I did have a few issues with it. 1. there were a couple of stories that were't particularly captivating and made it a little slow at times - the second to last story in particular. 2. Sometimes the font in my edition was hard to read. It's great that the publisher kept it as a typewriter font for authenticity but when the lettering had irregularities or was too bold/faint it was a little difficult deciphering some of the letters. However, it is still a good tome and I do recommend it to anyone who likes detective stories!

  • A. D. Norton
    2019-03-21 02:04

    This is an amazing book. One of the first female detectives. It's an important entry in the genre. It also showcases so many amateur sleuth tropes we are now familiar with such as a "stake-out", following someone, being for hire, working with a police department, double-crossing clients, and even the Mafia. Pretty amazing since it's mid nineteenth century. My favorite is the reason the police inspector hires her to investigate is because she's a detective "in petticoats."The genre of this book is more thriller or adventure -- it's interesting to note there's very little 'whodunit' here. This is a book of short vignettes.

  • Vanessa
    2019-02-28 01:56

    I wouldn't call this an *enjoyable* read really, but it is an interesting one. The Victorian writing style is, for me, so remote and mannered with too many stops and starts and compound phrases and this novel has all of these in spades. It is to be worked through instead of savored. I would recommend for those of us who want to round out our knowledge of the detective novel as an historical object and not for mystery fans in general.I received an ecopy from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Eileen Hall
    2019-03-17 09:08

    Yet another British Library Crime Classic.These books hark back to a different era from the modern novels of today.This one is about a plucky female private detective, Miss Gladden, using her feminine wiles to solve murders.A fascinating set of short stories to lose yourself in!Great read!I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.

  • Leyla Johnson
    2019-03-04 06:18

    This book has fabulous historic value of the writing of the time, both in writing style and how stories where told. I found the stories very different to todays fast pace reads, and the wordsmanship in this book taken very seriously. It was a little slow in places but the stories were well though out and enjoyable to read - certainly not the typical slash and burn type of book.This book was provided to me in return for an honest and unbiased review

  • Nadine
    2019-02-25 06:58

    I really enjoyed the self-reflexive way this detective comments on her trade. The novel is less noteworthy for the cases described - most of them aren't solved at all - but rather for the ways in which the female detective muses on a detective's gendering as well as on the ethical pitfalls of the job. Despite some casual remorse, however, Miss G always opts for 'professionalism'. I liked the irony in the character construction of this detective.

  • Kathleen Gray
    2019-03-07 03:19

    It's hard to evaluate reissues of novels because we have different expectations today and the writing style is just so different. Some of the stories in this set of interlocking pieces are better than others but the bottom line is that this is mostly interesting as a curiosity. THanks to netgalley for the ARC. A devoted reader of British mysteries might appreciate this.