The History of Fictional Female Detectives: Background information when reading Girl in Disguise

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Girl in Disguise

by Greer Macallister

Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
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  • Published:
    Mar 2017, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan

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Beyond the Book:
The History of Fictional Female Detectives

Many great novels start with a premise, which mirrors or takes inspiration from something in real life. In Greer Macallister's Girl in Disguise, the inspiration is the real-life Kate Warne, the first female private detective who began her career with Pinkerton's in 1856. Learning about her made me wonder which came first – did the concept of creating a woman detective rise from some writer's fertile imagination, or was Warne the inspiration for the first fictional female sleuth?

The Female DetectiveAccording to the website Crime Fiction Lover, in 1864 Andrew Forrester (aka James Redding Ware) invented Mrs. Gladden as the protagonist of his The Female Detective series of adventure stories. This appears to be the first English language fiction to feature a woman professionally solving crimes. Those stories probably sparked William Stephens Hayward to create Mrs. Paschal for his series Revelations of a Lady Detective. The Crime Fiction Lover site also notes that "Mr. Bazalgette's Agent by ...

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