Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime: Forgotten Cops and Private Eyes from the Time of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Michael Sims

From "The Mysterious Countess": I turned a familiar corner and was soon threading the well-known avenues of Whitehall. 

I didn't like "The Mysterious Countess" that much, but I did love most of the other stories in this collection of female detectives. "The Mysterious Countess" was a bit overwritten, but most of the others weren't. Here's what the back cover says, "It is the late Victorian era and society is both entranced by and fearful of that suspicious character known as the New Woman. She rides newfangled bicycles and doesn't like to be told what to do." A lovely description, in my opinion, that captures the essence of the whole book.

All of the females in this collection are detectives or cops, not criminals (though they sometimes do commit a lesser crime in order to solve a murder.) I enjoyed this collection just as much as The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime, perhaps more, because of the smart female detectives here. One of my favorites was "Drawn Dagger" by C.L. Pirkis, with the courageous Loveday Brookes. It was a really ingenious and complicated one too. I also enjoyed "The Unknown Weapon" and Anna Katharine Green's (the author of The Leavenworth Case) two stories included in the collection.

This is an amazing collection, and it's shameful that there are 2 one star reviews on Amazon. I mean, if they actually had some intelligent criticisms of the book, that would be different, but they're completely inaccurate, as the editor himself, Michael Sims, pointed out for the first one. I hope that these reviews won't prevent anyone from reading the book.

I would definitely recommend this to fans of mystery/crime fiction and stories with female protagonists.

Read The Penguin Book of Victorian Crime:
  • if you like mystery and crime fiction
  • if you like stories with female detectives or female protagonists in general
  • if you like short stories
321 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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