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 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.