In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Authors, 1850–1917

Edited by Leslie S. Klinger. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-68177-630-9
Klinger’s stellar fourth In the Shadow Of reprint anthology (after 2015’s In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe) educates readers about genre history and introduces them to talent that’s mainly obscure today. Much more than quaint curiosities, the 16 entries from women crime writers who preceded Christie are enjoyable in their own right. Sherlockians, in particular, will appreciate Baroness Orczy’s “The Regent’s Park Murder,” which appeared in 1901, two years before Conan Doyle’s “The Empty House,” and likewise features the baffling murder of a man who has won at cards. Other highlights include Ellen Wood’s “Mrs. Todhetley’s Earrings,” about a theft case with an amusing O. Henry twist, and C.L. Pirkis’s particularly well-done puzzle, “The Ghost of Fountain Lane,” which features a female rival to Holmes, Loveday Brooke, and links manifestations of the spirit of Napoleon Bonaparte with a stolen check. Klinger burnishes his credentials as a diligent researcher by retrieving even uncredited work (Australian author Mary Fortune’s “Traces of Crime”). This is a must-have volume for classic crime fans. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
Genre: Fiction
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