Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reading Old Mysteries

I’ve been doing some research and reading mysteries from the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century. In particular I’ve been finding some fascinating women detectives in this era. One of my favorites is Constance Dunlap in a book of the same name by Arthur B. Reeve from 1913.  This book contains individual episodes of Constance’s exploits. Constance gets involved in crime by helping her husband who admits being an embezzler. From starting on the wrong side of the law, Constance proceeds to help others who have succumbed to a life of crime. She encounters forgery, gun running, gambling and drug dealing, always staying just out of the reach of Detective Drummond. More traditional amateur sleuths include Anna Katherine Green’s Amelia Butterworth and Violet Strange. Amelia is a nosy neighbor who ends up solving a murder. Violet reluctantly agrees to investigate a number of crimes as a woman of society.  Mary Roberts Rinehart has two women protagonist: nurse Hilda Adams and adventuress Tish Carberry. George R. Sims introduces ex-actress Dorcas Dene and her bulldog Toddlekins. I found it interesting to read about these characters who predated Miss Marple.

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