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In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Writers: 1850-1917

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Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s best-selling mystery author, hailed as the “Queen of Crime,” with worldwide sales in the billions. Christie burst onto the literary scene in 1920, with The Mysterious Affair at Styles; her last novel was published in 1976, a career longer than even Conan Doyle’s forty-year span. The truth is that it was due to the success of writer Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s best-selling mystery author, hailed as the “Queen of Crime,” with worldwide sales in the billions. Christie burst onto the literary scene in 1920, with The Mysterious Affair at Styles; her last novel was published in 1976, a career longer than even Conan Doyle’s forty-year span. The truth is that it was due to the success of writers like Anna Katherine Green in America; L. T. Meade, C. L. Pirkis, the Baroness Orczy, and Elizabeth Corbett in England; and Mary Fortune in Australia that the doors were finally opened for women crime-writers. Authors who followed them, such as Patricia Wentworth, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Agatha Christie would not have thrived without the bold, fearless work of their predecessors—and the genre would be much poorer for their absence. So while Agatha Christie may still reign supreme, it is important to remember that she did not ascend that throne except on the shoulders of the women who came before her—and inspired her—and who are now removed from her shadow once and for all by this superb new anthology by Leslie S. Klinger. Featuring: Mary Fortune, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Ellen Wood, Elizabeth Corbett, C. L. Pirkis, Geraldine Bonner, Ellen Glasgow, L. T. Meade, Baroness Orczy, Augusta Großer, M. E. Graddon, Anna Katherine Green, Carolyn Wells, Susan Glaspell


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Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s best-selling mystery author, hailed as the “Queen of Crime,” with worldwide sales in the billions. Christie burst onto the literary scene in 1920, with The Mysterious Affair at Styles; her last novel was published in 1976, a career longer than even Conan Doyle’s forty-year span. The truth is that it was due to the success of writer Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s best-selling mystery author, hailed as the “Queen of Crime,” with worldwide sales in the billions. Christie burst onto the literary scene in 1920, with The Mysterious Affair at Styles; her last novel was published in 1976, a career longer than even Conan Doyle’s forty-year span. The truth is that it was due to the success of writers like Anna Katherine Green in America; L. T. Meade, C. L. Pirkis, the Baroness Orczy, and Elizabeth Corbett in England; and Mary Fortune in Australia that the doors were finally opened for women crime-writers. Authors who followed them, such as Patricia Wentworth, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Agatha Christie would not have thrived without the bold, fearless work of their predecessors—and the genre would be much poorer for their absence. So while Agatha Christie may still reign supreme, it is important to remember that she did not ascend that throne except on the shoulders of the women who came before her—and inspired her—and who are now removed from her shadow once and for all by this superb new anthology by Leslie S. Klinger. Featuring: Mary Fortune, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Ellen Wood, Elizabeth Corbett, C. L. Pirkis, Geraldine Bonner, Ellen Glasgow, L. T. Meade, Baroness Orczy, Augusta Großer, M. E. Graddon, Anna Katherine Green, Carolyn Wells, Susan Glaspell

30 review for In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Writers: 1850-1917

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This collection of classic crime fiction by forgotten authors, from 1850-1917, highlights some of the female authors of that period who were the forerunners of the great Golden Age crime authors – not only Agatha Christie, but Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham and others. Each of the featured authors is given a potted biography, putting them and their work in context, which is followed by a short story, which is representative of their writing. Some of these authors will be famili This collection of classic crime fiction by forgotten authors, from 1850-1917, highlights some of the female authors of that period who were the forerunners of the great Golden Age crime authors – not only Agatha Christie, but Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham and others. Each of the featured authors is given a potted biography, putting them and their work in context, which is followed by a short story, which is representative of their writing. Some of these authors will be familiar – such as Elizabeth Gaskell and Baroness Orzy. However, others are now out of print and largely forgotten. Likewise, some of the early ‘crime’ stories in this collection are not necessarily familiar in terms of what we think of crime fiction today. For example, “The Advocate’s Wedding Day,” by Catherine Crow (1900-1876) features a story set shortly after the French Revolution; involving a feud between two men – one a former member of the gentry, with the other a member of the lower classes. This involves a court case and has a more supernatural feel to it. Other stories though involve events that we associate with crime novels from the later period – crime foggy London streets, roving tramps, murder in fashionable hotels and stolen jewels. Overall, this is an interesting collection, which will appeal to anyone interested in the history of crime writing. The stories and authors contained in this collection are: The Advocate’s Wedding Day: Catherine Crowe The Squire’s Story: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell Traces of Crime: Mary Fortune Mr Furbush: Harriet Prescott Spofford Mrs Todhetley’s Earrings: Ellen Wood Catching a Burglar: Elizabeth Corbett The Ghost of Fountain Lane: C.L. Pirkis The Statement of Jared Johnson: Geraldine Bonner Point in Morals: Ellen Glasgow The Blood-Red Cross: L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace The Regents Park Murder: Baroness Orczy The Case of the Registered Letter: Augusta Groner The Winning Sequence: M.E. Braddon Missing: Page Thirteen: Anna Katherine Green The Adventures of the Clothes-Line: Carolyn Wells Jury of Her Peers: Susan Glaspell

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eeva

    Usually anthologies are a hit and miss for me but this one was 1 hit and 14 misses. I struggled wirh this book bc those stories are just not as good as we're being led to believe. Apparently there's a reason why those authors were forgotten....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    A great book for the crime loving reader. The author gives an excellent introduction and mentions authors that I had not even heard of before, some I'd heard of but had never read any of their books. Klinger has put together an excellent compilation of crime stories, a book definitely worth reading. Many thanks to Netgalley for the advanced digital copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    3.5 stars Once again I think I went in with the wrong expectations. I expected more discussion of the women who wrote detective fiction before Agatha Christie. Instead, I got a collection of mystery short stories written by women (though not necessarily starring women.) Some were quite good. Others I struggled to get into. They were generally engaging and interesting but lacking the historical punch I went in expecting. At the risk of sounding dismissive, there is a good reason most of these are 3.5 stars Once again I think I went in with the wrong expectations. I expected more discussion of the women who wrote detective fiction before Agatha Christie. Instead, I got a collection of mystery short stories written by women (though not necessarily starring women.) Some were quite good. Others I struggled to get into. They were generally engaging and interesting but lacking the historical punch I went in expecting. At the risk of sounding dismissive, there is a good reason most of these are now"in the shadows." Some of these authors became famous for other books and some became regionally popular but never expanded. Worth a flip through if you want some interesting short stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Thank you to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for a digital galley of this book. From the standpoint of learning about the roles women played in writing crime fiction published between 1850 and 1917 this book was interesting and successful. On a personal level the stories were not quite as engaging as a whole for me. I did not reach for pen and paper even once to jot down the name of an author I wanted to explore further. The premise of this book is to show that the successes of Agatha Christie have c Thank you to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for a digital galley of this book. From the standpoint of learning about the roles women played in writing crime fiction published between 1850 and 1917 this book was interesting and successful. On a personal level the stories were not quite as engaging as a whole for me. I did not reach for pen and paper even once to jot down the name of an author I wanted to explore further. The premise of this book is to show that the successes of Agatha Christie have cast the writings of the authors presented here into a shadowy area so their work isn't given as much attention and credit for advancing the female crime fiction writers efforts. In other words, Christie would not have been so successful without the efforts of those women whose work came before her. My take on this collection is that now I understand just how well the Christie books are written. Granted each Agatha Christie novel isn't a literary masterpiece, but taken as a whole I have no trouble settling myself down to read any of the Christie books again and again. All of this doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy some of the stories collected in this volume, because I did, just not as many as I would have expected. There is an Introduction by Leslie S. Klinger which provides background information for the state of crime fiction publication by women from 1850 through 1917. In this introduction many female authors are discussed, not just those who have a story presented in the collection. Each story has a brief biographical segment about the author, some historical information regarding her novel and story publication and usually a publication date for the featured story. So many of the women wrote their stories under one or more pseudonyms so that information is provided also. The following is a list of the author and their story included in this book: Catherine Crowe - The Advocate's Wedding Day Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell - The Squire's Story Mary Fortune - Traces of Crime Harriet Prescott Spofford - Mr. Furbush Ellen Wood - Mrs. Todhetley's Earrings Elizabeth Corbett - Catching A Burglar C. L. Pirkis - The Ghost of Fountain Lane Geraldine Bonner - The Statement of Jared Johnson Ellen Glasgow - Point in Morals L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace - The Blood-Red Cross Baroness Orczy - The Regent's Park Murder Augusta Groner - The Case of the Registered Letter M. E. Braddon - The Winning Sequence Anna Katherine Green - Missing: Page Thirteen Carolyn Wells - The Adventure of the Clothes-Line Susan Glaspell - Jury of Her Peers Sixteen stories are presented from authors you may not be familiar with. If you are interested in reading stories from female authors who made a difference in the history of crime fiction, this will be a great place to begin your exploration of that subject.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marchpane

    Although this collection invokes the name of Agatha Christie (in big letters on the cover), the stories themselves do not adhere to the typical Christie structure and style. Many of them are not even 'mysteries', but quite journalistic accounts of invented crimes, with a straightforward reporting of what happened, who did it and how the authorities solved it. This in itself was very interesting - what was the appetite for these stories in crime magazines, that read as if they are factual newspap Although this collection invokes the name of Agatha Christie (in big letters on the cover), the stories themselves do not adhere to the typical Christie structure and style. Many of them are not even 'mysteries', but quite journalistic accounts of invented crimes, with a straightforward reporting of what happened, who did it and how the authorities solved it. This in itself was very interesting - what was the appetite for these stories in crime magazines, that read as if they are factual newspaper articles? Others are written to appear as if they are memoirs of a real-life detective or policeman, or extracts from a casebook. As the collection progresses, the stories evolve from this early realism into ever more varied and modern styles, with greater emphasis on detection. There's even a Sherlock Holmes fanfiction! The final story, Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell is in a class of its own, surprising and very moving. After finishing that one, I immediately had to go back and reread it. Great for a snapshot of early women crime writers, but probably not the thing if you're looking for a Christie readalike.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    A historically interesting collection of short stories by women in the crime/mystery genre. They are products of their time, published before the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Don’t go into this volume expecting the quality of those two talented women writers! These are the roots of women writing in this genre from the late 1800’s into the early 20th century. If you’ve read books like Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho or Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, you will have a A historically interesting collection of short stories by women in the crime/mystery genre. They are products of their time, published before the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Don’t go into this volume expecting the quality of those two talented women writers! These are the roots of women writing in this genre from the late 1800’s into the early 20th century. If you’ve read books like Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho or Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, you will have a fairly clear idea of what you are getting in this collection. The best part is that these are short works—there is no need to wade through the pages and pages of description that the reader encounters in the two novels reference above. You can sample and decide if there are authors whose work you wish to pursue further. I put a hold on this book in my public library, believing that I would get more contemporaries of Ms. Christie, those who were writing “in her shadow,” so it wasn’t quite what I was anticipating. Still, it made an excellent book for coffee breaks, allowing me to read a whole story before having to set the book down & return to business.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Every great crime writer and reader loves Agatha Christie - she is the Queen of Crime,and many writers today are still inspired by her.But what about the writers who came before her and helped her to be able to write as she did? The women who paved the way for MsChristie. Well, this was a lovely set of stories,a good collection of some cosy ones, police led ones, and a variety of crimes and victims too. I hadn't heard of all the writers in the book but that's the delight of a selection box of go Every great crime writer and reader loves Agatha Christie - she is the Queen of Crime,and many writers today are still inspired by her.But what about the writers who came before her and helped her to be able to write as she did? The women who paved the way for MsChristie. Well, this was a lovely set of stories,a good collection of some cosy ones, police led ones, and a variety of crimes and victims too. I hadn't heard of all the writers in the book but that's the delight of a selection box of goodies like this - some you know you're going to like and others you discover and now have more things to enjoy! a great idea to have just female writers and those who helped pave the way for Agatha and every (female) crime writer since. This would make a lovely present for all crime readers!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    What I enjoyed most were the bios written about these "forgotten" female crime writers before their short stories. They were so interesting to read! Such fascinating women. I'll admit to not jumping to read these every chance I got - I found many suffered from their age and from that main critique about short stories, in that they ended so abruptly, it took away from the overall enjoyment of them. There were many good ones inside here though!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yibbie

    Klinger has done a wonderful job of bringing together a collection of forgotten gems of early crime fiction. Before Agatha Christie there was Catherine Crowe, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Mary Helena Fortune, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Ellen Wood, Mrs. George Corbett, Catherine Louisa Pirkis, Geraldine Bonner, Ellen Glasgow, Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Smith, Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozalia Maria Jozefa Borbala Orczy de Orci, Augusta Groner, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Anna Catherine Green, Carolyn Well Klinger has done a wonderful job of bringing together a collection of forgotten gems of early crime fiction. Before Agatha Christie there was Catherine Crowe, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Mary Helena Fortune, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Ellen Wood, Mrs. George Corbett, Catherine Louisa Pirkis, Geraldine Bonner, Ellen Glasgow, Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Smith, Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozalia Maria Jozefa Borbala Orczy de Orci, Augusta Groner, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Anna Catherine Green, Carolyn Wells, and Susan Glaspell. Some of them were wonderful authors, some not so great, but all pioneers. This is a collection of their short stories. Even though it these are all crime stories, they vary quite a bit. The plots cover everything from fairly simple burglary stories to wildly complicated murder frames, and ghost stories. The styles vary from police procedurals to tales of suspense and even a farce. Even the settings are quite diverse, most are set in England and America, but others are set in Austria and Australia. Some of them would be considered classics, others pulp, but all are fun reads, all but that really tragic one. The introduction to the book gives a quick history of the crime fiction genre. Then each story is prefaced with a quick history of that particular author's writing career. I really appreciated how clean the stories are. I would recommend this collection to anyone. I received this as a free ARC through Net Galley and Pegasus Books. No favorable review was required. These are my honest opinions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)

    It is not often that I enjoy a foreword, but this book has probably one of the best forewords ever. Klinger clearly has researched the field of female crime fiction writers in great detail and is incredibly knowledgeable. Yet, overall, the book suffered from the anthology curse: It rises or falls with the weaker stories and there are quite a few week stories. Clearly not Klinger's fault, after all, the output of those ladies is not his responsibility and I think, he will have chosen the stories It is not often that I enjoy a foreword, but this book has probably one of the best forewords ever. Klinger clearly has researched the field of female crime fiction writers in great detail and is incredibly knowledgeable. Yet, overall, the book suffered from the anthology curse: It rises or falls with the weaker stories and there are quite a few week stories. Clearly not Klinger's fault, after all, the output of those ladies is not his responsibility and I think, he will have chosen the stories that are in his opinion the strongest. So all in all, an interesting journey, but the sights were so-so. I would love to read more on this topic though, so I hope he will continue publishing books about forgotten female writers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    BookishSteph1

    I really enjoyed this collection and how varied the stories and themes are, as well as the variation of authors each with something new to offer with a growing ingenuity in the latter half of the book, particularly shown in one of my favourites, The Blood-Red Cross by L. T. Meade (with assistance from Robert Eustace, a doctor) which uses an excellent bit of science. Some of my other favourites include The Statement of Jared Johnson by Geraldine Bonner, The Regent’s Park Murder by Baroness Orczy I really enjoyed this collection and how varied the stories and themes are, as well as the variation of authors each with something new to offer with a growing ingenuity in the latter half of the book, particularly shown in one of my favourites, The Blood-Red Cross by L. T. Meade (with assistance from Robert Eustace, a doctor) which uses an excellent bit of science. Some of my other favourites include The Statement of Jared Johnson by Geraldine Bonner, The Regent’s Park Murder by Baroness Orczy and Missing: Page Thirteen by Anna Katharine Green. I also really liked the page of biographical information for each author as an introduction before each story. Very informative. It is unfortunate that these authors weren’t as popular as Agatha Christie, or didn’t retain their popularity, and I’m glad to have read this book and plan on reading more by my favourites from this collection, but I do have to say that Agatha Christie is still my Queen of Crime and unfortunately, for me, only a few of these stories came close to her writing and intricate plotting (see my favourites listed above). Well worth a read and it was great finding more female classic crime writers to read! .

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    An interesting collection of short stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    A very good collection of short stories of women mystery writer who wrote before Agatha Christie. Most of them are unknown to most of people but their stories are an interesting reading. A good way to rediscover some female writers who are unfortunately forgotten. Many thanks to Netgalley and Pegasus Books for giving me the change to review this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    "In the Shadow of Agatha Christie" is a collection of 16 short story mysteries that were originally published between 1850 and 1917. They were set in France, England, Australia, Austria, and America. Some of the stories were a person talking about a crime after it was solved, so it's more a "crime story" than a "mystery." The stories that followed someone as they solved a mystery were usually pretty straight-forward and involved few clues. Short stories can't be very complex, but some of the aut "In the Shadow of Agatha Christie" is a collection of 16 short story mysteries that were originally published between 1850 and 1917. They were set in France, England, Australia, Austria, and America. Some of the stories were a person talking about a crime after it was solved, so it's more a "crime story" than a "mystery." The stories that followed someone as they solved a mystery were usually pretty straight-forward and involved few clues. Short stories can't be very complex, but some of the authors relied upon the clever crime to hold the reader's interest whereas others developed the main characters as well. I enjoyed about 2/3rds of the stories and thought "Jury of Her Peers" was the best of the collection. There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. "The Advocate's Wedding Day" by Catherine Crowe (originally published 1850, set late 1790s) "The Squire's Story" by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (pub. 1853, set 1769-1775) "Traces of Crime" by Mary Fortune (pub. 1865) "Mr Furbush" by Harriet Prescott Spofford (pub. 1865) "Mrs. Todhetley's Earrings" by Ellen Wood (pub. 1873) "Catching a Burglar" by Elizabeth Corbett (pub. 1893) "The Ghost of Fountain Lane" by C. L. Pirkis (pub. 1893) "The Statement of Jared Johnson" by Geraldine Bonner (pub. 1899) "Point in Morals" by Ellen Glasgow (pub. 1899) "The Blood-Red Cross" by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace (pub. 1902, set Nov. 1899) "The Regent's Park Murder" by Baroness Orczy (pub. 1901) "The Case of the Registered Letter" by Augusta Groner (pub. 1910) "The Winning Sequence" by M.E. Braddon (pub. 1896) "Missing: Page Thirteen" by Anna Katherine Green (pub. 1915) "The Adventures of the Clothes-Line" by Carolyn Wells (pub. 1903) "Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glashell (pub. 1917) I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Thank you to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for the digital ARC. I think the title of this might mislead some readers as there is nothing remotely Agatha Christie-like about these stories. They are interesting in themselves as a demonstration of the kind of crime fiction that existed before World War One, whether written by men or women: I do not think that there is a particularly feminine slant to these. Nor are some of these authors as neglected as the editor and some reviewers have asserted. Certa Thank you to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for the digital ARC. I think the title of this might mislead some readers as there is nothing remotely Agatha Christie-like about these stories. They are interesting in themselves as a demonstration of the kind of crime fiction that existed before World War One, whether written by men or women: I do not think that there is a particularly feminine slant to these. Nor are some of these authors as neglected as the editor and some reviewers have asserted. Certainly in Britain, Elizabeth Gaskell, CL Purkis, LT Meade, Baroness Orczy, Anna Katherine Green and Carolyn Wells are still read and I have heard some of their stories dramatised by the BBC. In any collection there will be some entries which are stronger and more memorable than others. Here the standout story by a long way was “Jury of Her Peers". Below is a list of the tales with some of my notes which may be of interest. 1.The Advocate’s Wedding Day-Catherine Crowe ( English 1800-76)- Interesting tale of justice done with a slight supernatural twist.(1850) 2. The Squire’s Story- Elizabeth Gaskell (Biography is too dismissive)- Well-written conscience crime story.(1853) 3.Traces of Crime-Mary Fortune (Australian 1833-1910) Detective finds clues to solve cases of assault and murder in the goldfields (1865) 4.Mr Furbush- Harriet Spofford (American 1835-1921) Detective solves murder with help of magnified photo.(1865) 5.Mrs Todhetley’s Earrings-Ellen Wood (Mrs Henry Wood 1814-1887)A Johnny Ludlow story of an earring lost and found.(1873) 6.Catching a Burglar-Mrs George (Elizabeth) Corbett (English 1846-1930) Lady private detective Dora Bell helps catch burglars.(1892) 7.The Ghost of Fountain Lane- C L Purkis (English 1839-1910) Loveday Brooke investigates a stolen cheque and a ghost. How are they connected?(1893) 8.The Statement of Jared Johnson-Geraldine Bonner (American 1870-1930) Reporter saves a man accused of murder. Highly original method of killing.(1899) 9.Point in Morals-Ellen Glasgow (American1873-1945) Odd tale. Was he a murderer?(1899) 10.The Blood-Red Cross-L T Meade (English 1844-1914) and Robert Eustace- Neat little story of evil adventuress thwarted by detectives.(1902) 11. The Regent’s Park Murder-Baroness Orczy (1865-1947) Polly Burton and the Old Man in the Corner story.Solution of a murder but no proof. (1901) 12. The Case of the Registered Letter-Augusta Groner (Austrian 1850-1929) Detective Muller investigates a strange murder case. Too long. Dull.(1910?) 13. The Winning Sequence-Mary Bradden (1835-1915)Ghost story and a crime. Weak. (1896) 14.Missing Page Thirteen- Anna Katherine Green (1846-1935) Violet Strange story of a page of a formula gone missing and a past ghost laid (1915) 15.The Adventure of the Clothes-Line- Carolyn Wells (1870-1942) Amusing send-up of the famous members of the Society of Infallible Detectives. (1915) 16.Jury of her Peers-Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) Women work out the motive for a crime-from trifles (1917) Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Martens

    Much in the vein of Hugh Greene’s excellent anthologies The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and The Further Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, which brought to light mystery writers whose works have been overshadowed by the master. The present anthology contains sixteen works, all of which pre-date Agatha Christie’s earliest novel, sometimes significantly (the earliest included story appeared less than a decade after Poe first introduced C. Auguste Dupin to the world). The offerings in Shadow are quite as var Much in the vein of Hugh Greene’s excellent anthologies The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and The Further Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, which brought to light mystery writers whose works have been overshadowed by the master. The present anthology contains sixteen works, all of which pre-date Agatha Christie’s earliest novel, sometimes significantly (the earliest included story appeared less than a decade after Poe first introduced C. Auguste Dupin to the world). The offerings in Shadow are quite as varied and eccentric as Greene’s Rivals. Klinger, of course, is a proper scholar of crime fiction, having edited the fabulous The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, for my money the best Holmes collection, hands down. Stories range from early and relatively unsophisticated, to satirical, thrilling, and complex. The authors included were entirely unknown to me, aside from Baroness Orczy (and she for The Scarlett Pimpernel, not her mysteries). There were quite a few authors included I would enjoy reading more from, especially given that several achieved their greatest success through their novels, and don’t necessarily have their best work represented here. Standout entries for me were Elizabeth Thomasina Mead Smith’s “The Blood-Red Cross”, whose villain, Madame Sara, is just as engaging as its heroes; Anna Katherine Green’s “Missing: Page Thirteen” who writes so suspensefully that the story’s actual detection is secondary to its epilogue; and Ellen Glasgow’s provocative “Point in Morals”, where crime doesn’t necessarily play a central role, but which is nevertheless dramatic and rewarding.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kerrie

    The thing that struck me as I read the small biographies for each of these pre-Golden Age female crime fiction writers was how prolific they were, how many novels each one of them had written, how much choice late Victorian readers would have had. Most of them were British, and from a 21st century perspective, many of them were Victorian and rather wordy even cumbersome in style. Agatha Christie would have felt like a breath of fresh air. I don't think I had realised how different readers in 1920 The thing that struck me as I read the small biographies for each of these pre-Golden Age female crime fiction writers was how prolific they were, how many novels each one of them had written, how much choice late Victorian readers would have had. Most of them were British, and from a 21st century perspective, many of them were Victorian and rather wordy even cumbersome in style. Agatha Christie would have felt like a breath of fresh air. I don't think I had realised how different readers in 1920 would have found THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES. But these writers paved the way for crime fiction by female writers as an acceptable, if not quite literary, genre. An interesting and educative anthology.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Short story collections just aren’t for me. Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One and Other Stories couldn’t hold my interest; Rebecca Makkai’s Music for Wartime had its bright spots, but felt lackluster as a whole, Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress was a DNF. This one is totally on me, going in I KNEW short stories collection and anthologies just aren’t my thing, but I was so hopeful and excited that I didn’t care. ..and that led to another DNF. For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gat Short story collections just aren’t for me. Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One and Other Stories couldn’t hold my interest; Rebecca Makkai’s Music for Wartime had its bright spots, but felt lackluster as a whole, Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress was a DNF. This one is totally on me, going in I KNEW short stories collection and anthologies just aren’t my thing, but I was so hopeful and excited that I didn’t care. ..and that led to another DNF. For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!

  21. 4 out of 5

    ☘Tara Sheehan☘

    For my 500th Review of 2017 I wanted something special to mark the occasion. With an upcoming movie based on one of Agatha Christie’s books and being a staunch supporter of female writers this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. Recently I reviewed a short story collection from the mystery genre that covered stories across 150 years yet only around 5% of the book was devoted to female writers despite the fact they have made their own mark on the publication industry. Having a book devoted For my 500th Review of 2017 I wanted something special to mark the occasion. With an upcoming movie based on one of Agatha Christie’s books and being a staunch supporter of female writers this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. Recently I reviewed a short story collection from the mystery genre that covered stories across 150 years yet only around 5% of the book was devoted to female writers despite the fact they have made their own mark on the publication industry. Having a book devoted to those missing voices, showcasing the women who opened doors for Christie and so many others, is empowering. Leslie Klinger starts off with a history of the huge impact Agatha Christie had over an astounding career that was longer than even the most famous, esteemed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. We learn that though Sherlock Holmes made the crime/mystery genre popular in the late 19th century, female writers had already been providing their own literary creations long before he embarked upon the world. Yet they were not given the same recognition for their equally talented efforts. Even hardcore mystery fans may not recognize the names of the authors presented in this anthology or know how long back the female voice stretches but thanks to Mr. Klinger they are no longer lost in the dust of the past. The irony that it took a man to settle that wrong against my fellow gender has not been lost on me. The first female detective was Mrs. G. in the apropos named story The Female Detective published in the mid 1800s but the first female crime-writer came much earlier from the British culture. The history lessons continue as we bounce around the western hemisphere from France to England to the States learning how the various cultures influenced authors, publications and notoriety. After the highly detailed and meticulously researched history lessons conclude, the fun starts with stories by some of the strongest women to grace the world’s literary stage. Klinger did a wonderful job reminding us that women have had a voice much longer than most know and we owe it to them to remember their hard work in a time when men were the dominant force. These stories provide a window into the past, into a time when women couldn’t be on bestseller lists or given the same recognition as men. Their stories are the product of the time, places, people and culture they were created in so it’s important to remember that before passing judgement. You may like some, love some, hate some or be indifferent but in the end you should respect them because each in her own way was leaving a mark upon a world that didn’t care what they had to say simply because of their gender. The Advocate’s Wedding Day by Catherine Crowe The Squire’s Story by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell Traces of Crime by Mary Fortune Mr. Furbush by Harriet Prescott Spofford Mrs. Todhetley’s Earrings by Ellen Wood Catching a Burglar by Elizabeth Corbett The Ghost of Fountain Lane by C. L. Pirkis The Statement of Jared Johnson by Geraldine Bonner Point in Morals by Ellen Glasgow The Blood-Red Cross by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace The Regent’s Park Murder by Baroness Orczy The Case of the Registered Letter by Augusta Groner The Winning Sequence by M. E. Braddon Missing; Page Thirteen by Anna Katherine Green The Adventure of the Clothes-Line by Carolyn Wells Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    I love Christie's books!!! Super excited to read this!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    The unsung heroines of detective fiction are honored… My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, Maia Larson, and new, to me anyway, Bowen Dunnan—for my advance reading copy of this book. Thanks so much! Agatha Christie has the honor of being the best selling detective fiction author. Her characters of Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple are known the world over. Her works are translated into many languages and have spawned movies and television shows. This is the story The unsung heroines of detective fiction are honored… My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, Maia Larson, and new, to me anyway, Bowen Dunnan—for my advance reading copy of this book. Thanks so much! Agatha Christie has the honor of being the best selling detective fiction author. Her characters of Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple are known the world over. Her works are translated into many languages and have spawned movies and television shows. This is the story of some women authors of detective fiction that perhaps never had the success Christie accomplished, but were excellent writers with solid characters. This volume is dedicated to sharing their detectives and villains with a modern audience. The characters are not all strangers to me, but that is partially due to my reading habits. More stories about many of these characters can be found in the two Rivals of Sherlock Holmes novels. Baroness Orczy’s The Old Man in the Corner plays constantly with a piece of string while relating his tales to the Lady Journalist. Elisabeth Corbett’s Dora Bell is an undercover investigator. LT Meade and Robert Eustace combine to bring us Madame Sara, a lady criminal also known as The Sorceress of the Strand. There is CL Pirkis’ Loveday Brooke, Augusta Groner’s Detective Joseph Muller, Anna Katerine Green’s Violet Strange and many more. The tales in this book are told from many viewpoints and I would recommend most of them without a second thought! There’s a particularly hilarious tale of “The Society of Infallible Detectives” by Carolyn Wells that is sure to delight any mystery reader. Best in Book this time is a tie between The Blood Cross by LT Meade and Robert Eustace and The Regent’s Park Murder by Baroness Orczy. The story I enjoyed the least is The Winning Sequence by ME Braddon—it is a ghost tale with an explanatory mystery that fails on both. I hope to see more volumes of lesser-known sleuths from past years! I am more than happy to give this book five stars! Quoth the Raven…

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    In the Shadow of Agatha Christie highlights female writers of crime fiction from 1850-1917. These writers opened the door for the golden age, 1920-1939, of detective fiction led by many female authors like Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers. The introduction gives a comprehensive history of pre-golden age female writers. Unfortunately, not all are represented in the sixteen stories in this book. Here is the list of stories and authors within this collection: The Advoc In the Shadow of Agatha Christie highlights female writers of crime fiction from 1850-1917. These writers opened the door for the golden age, 1920-1939, of detective fiction led by many female authors like Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers. The introduction gives a comprehensive history of pre-golden age female writers. Unfortunately, not all are represented in the sixteen stories in this book. Here is the list of stories and authors within this collection: The Advocate’s Wedding Day by Catherine Crowe The Squire’s Story by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell Traces of Crime by Mary Fortune Mr. Furbush by Harriet Prescott Spofford Mrs. Todhetley’s Earrings by Ellen Wood Catching a Burglar by Elizabeth Corbett The Ghost of Fountain Lane by C. L. Pirkis The Statement of Jared Johnson by Geraldine Bonner Point in Morals by Ellen Glasgow The Blood-Red Cross by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace The Regent’s Park Murder by Baroness Orczy The Case of the Registered Letter by Augusta Groner The Winning Sequence by M. E. Braddon Missing; Page Thirteen by Anna Katherine Green The Adventure of the Clothes-Line by Carolyn Wells Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell The quality and links to what is considered crime fiction today (murder, detective, ability to guess the solution) varies widely. The stories generally are presented in date order with the oldest first. The older stories are not necessarily the best stories but included mostly for seemingly historic reasons (the first female author's story, the first female detective, etc.) The best story is the last, Jury of her Peers, which alone is worth picking up this book. Overall, In the Shadow of Agatha Christie is more suited for readers interested in the history of female crime authors than Agatha Christie fans. 3 stars. Thanks to the publisher, Pegasus Books, and NetGalley for an advance reader's copy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    I was intrigued by this book the minute I saw the title because I love Agatha Christie. In The Shadow of Agatha Christie is a collection of crime fiction by women writers who came before Christie. I’m not sure why it cuts off at 1917, but it does. There are sixteen stories in this anthology and it starts with The Advocate’s Wedding Day. As a first story, I wasn’t too fond of it because it was all narration and not much story. In fact, it felt a bit like a story synopsis than a story. But we trave I was intrigued by this book the minute I saw the title because I love Agatha Christie. In The Shadow of Agatha Christie is a collection of crime fiction by women writers who came before Christie. I’m not sure why it cuts off at 1917, but it does. There are sixteen stories in this anthology and it starts with The Advocate’s Wedding Day. As a first story, I wasn’t too fond of it because it was all narration and not much story. In fact, it felt a bit like a story synopsis than a story. But we traveled towards the near past, I started to enjoy them more. Some of my favourites were: - Mrs. Todhetley’s Earrings: This stars a young man named Johnny as the main character/narrator, although he isn’t so much a detective as a participant in the story. I liked this mainly because of the twist ending. - The Statement of Jared Johnson: A confession, this one stars a reporter as a detective. The solution is really clever and the story is very enjoyable. - The Blood Red Cross: I would love to read more from the authors of this story! The story is very Holmesian, with a detective and his archenemy. There’s a mysterious young lady and alchemical solutions, which makes for a fascinating case. - The Winning Sequence: I don’t think this is a mystery story per se, although I guess it can fall under crime fiction. But it is a very poignant story and can probably serve as an anti-gambling ad. The last story was Jury of Her Peers, which happens to be the first story of A Moment on the Edge, another anthology of women crime writers. I would highly recommend both books! This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  26. 5 out of 5

    Literary Portals

    Review originally published on my blog: https://literaryportals.blogspot.com/... What Made Me Read It They had me at Agatha Christie. I've always been a huge fan of her work, both her crime stories and her literary novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Table of Contents This collection includes the following short stories: "The Advocate’s Wedding Day" by Catherine Crowe - to improve his professional career and social status, a young barrister sends a rival accused of murder to his death, despit Review originally published on my blog: https://literaryportals.blogspot.com/... What Made Me Read It They had me at Agatha Christie. I've always been a huge fan of her work, both her crime stories and her literary novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Table of Contents This collection includes the following short stories: "The Advocate’s Wedding Day" by Catherine Crowe - to improve his professional career and social status, a young barrister sends a rival accused of murder to his death, despite having information that proves his innocence. Years later the barrister is haunted by his guilt and the ghost of the convicted; "The Squire’s Story" by Elizabeth Gaskell - an anonymous squire tells the tale of how an old maid and a magistrate came to identify a cold-blooded murderer in a small town; "Traces of Crime" by Mary Fortune - a police detective goes undercover on a goldfield campsite in order to apprehend a violent women abuser; "Mr. Furbush" by Harriet Prescott Spofford - a Victorian CSI detective uses his keen observational skills and scientific tools to investigate the murder of a young heiress; "Mrs. Todhetley’s Earrings" by Ellen Wood - Johnny Ludlow, a young man with a detective's eye, tries to find a missing earring lost on a snowy day and believed stolen by a tramp; "Catching a Burglar" by Elizabeth Corbett - a female detective named Dora Bell goes undercover as a maid to investigate a series of burglaries suspected to have been committed with the help of the domestic staff; "The Ghost of Fountain Lane" by C. L. Pirkis - Miss Loveday Brooke breaks up a criminal organization while investigating a falsified stolen check, a cult and a ghost; "The Statement of Jared Johnson" by Geraldine Bonner - a young journalist sets out to save a man wrongly accused of murdering a model; "A Point in Morals" by Ellen Glasgow - a group of scholars on a sea trip discuss the ethical responsibilities of helping a criminal in need; "The Blood-Red Cross" by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace - Madame Sara, a female villain, is determined to steal a valuable pearl necklace with the unwilling help of a bride-to-be. Her nemesis, police surgeon detective Eric Vandeleur and his assistant Robert Druce must use their cunning skills to prevent the theft and save the groom's family honor; "The Regent’s Park Murder" by Baroness Orczy - an anonymous armchair detective, known to the journalist who records his deductions as the "old man in the corner", tells the story of the murder on a foggy night of a society gentleman connected to a prestigious London gambling club; "The Case of the Registered Letter" by Augusta Groner - Joseph Muller, a detective who relies on instinct and inspiration instead of reason to solve crimes, is tasked into solving the case of a debilitated man accused of murdering his friend; "The Winning Sequence" by M. E. Braddon - the story of a ghost named Sybilla, a lady gambler who cheated at card games; "Missing: Page Thirteen" by Anna Katherine Green - a valuable scientific formula goes missing during an engagement celebration dinner and the host of the party, a rival scientist, is the main suspect. Violet Strange, a debutant who secretly works for a detective agency, is asked to find the missing scientific paper and clear the groom's name; "The Adventure of the Clothes-line" by Carolyn Wells - a parody about the "Society of Infalible Detectives", among which Sherlock Holmes and Arsène Lupin, who try to solve the mystery of the society woman found suspended on a clothes-line high above the ground; "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell - a farmer is found strangled in bed and his wife claims she doesn't know how it happened. While the county's attorney and sheriff look in the bedroom for clues of the murder, the sheriff's wife and the farmer's female neighbor remain in the kitchen, dismissed by the men, and together judge whether or not the accused wife really committed the crime. The Good "In the Shadow of Agatha Christie" is a collection of 16 short stories by female authors, originally published between 1850 and 1917. The introduction to the book gives a quick history of the crime fiction genre where the editor discusses many female authors beyond those presented in this anthology. Each of the featured authors is given a brief biographical segment, putting them and their work in context, followed by a short story representative of their writing career. Even though the stories are generally classified as crime and mystery stories, they vary considerably and cover everything from simple burglaries to complicated murder frames, from police procedures to tales of suspense, from ghost stories to a Sherlock Holmes fanfiction. Even the settings are quite diverse, while most are set in England and America, some take place in Austria and Australia. Each of the authors featured pre-dates Agatha Christie herself and some of the stories selected resonate with Christie's own novels, showing how much her predecessors influenced her own career. The Not So Good Not so much flaws but words of caution: Each story is the product of the time, place and culture in which each author lived. As such, the writing style feels a little strange and somewhat difficult to follow along, specially if English isn't your native language. The stories themselves do not adhere to the typical Agatha Christie structure and style, regardless of the title of this anthology, which might feel a little misleading to some readers. Final Rating 5 of 5 stars This book did not disappoint. As an avid reader of Agatha Christie novels I was curious about her predecessors, those female authors who, in a way, paved the way to her success and even influenced her own work. Even though each story in this anthology is unique, I sometimes recognized elements (a plot similarity, the feel of a character, a deductive method…) Agatha Christie would later adopt in her own novels. The Victorian-style writing felt a little strange sometimes but that added to the charm of this anthology. Recommended for those who enjoy detective stories, crime mysteries and deduction work, mostly set in Victorian age.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    Interesting to read about some of these early female writers of detective fiction. Some were quite prolific. The stories vary in quality and some are barley qualified as crime fiction. The style of writing around the mid-19th century is accounts for some a reader's enjoyment either favorable or not favorable. There is a variety of the types of crimes: theft, murder, and other examples of criminal mischief. The pov also differs. Sometimes there is no real detective figure, others it is a amateur, Interesting to read about some of these early female writers of detective fiction. Some were quite prolific. The stories vary in quality and some are barley qualified as crime fiction. The style of writing around the mid-19th century is accounts for some a reader's enjoyment either favorable or not favorable. There is a variety of the types of crimes: theft, murder, and other examples of criminal mischief. The pov also differs. Sometimes there is no real detective figure, others it is a amateur, a private investigator, a member of the police, male and female protagonist. Some are more psychological in nature and others stick to the important facts. The featured stories highlight the breadth of women's abilities to depict stories. Women were not pigeon-holed into a particular story type or style. These writers and stories have been largely forgotten. They are fun to read and for anyone interested in the history of the genre it enriches one's understanding to see the writers that paved the way for Christie and others.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    This is an interesting collection of short mystery stories written by women over a long period of time A lot of the authors will be new to most and this is a good way to introduce people to very capable writers who have been lost in the annals of crime/mystery fiction. Some of the authors I was already familiar with as they were contemporaries of Conan Doyle and produced fiction utilizing female detectives who rivaled the great Holmes. If I could have rated this book a 3.5 I would have. It's onl This is an interesting collection of short mystery stories written by women over a long period of time A lot of the authors will be new to most and this is a good way to introduce people to very capable writers who have been lost in the annals of crime/mystery fiction. Some of the authors I was already familiar with as they were contemporaries of Conan Doyle and produced fiction utilizing female detectives who rivaled the great Holmes. If I could have rated this book a 3.5 I would have. It's only because of some of the earlier stories in the book that I've given it the rating I did as I found them a struggle and hard to get through. Once I did though I found I enjoyed the book more as time went on. An intriguing collection and one worth checking out if only to discover the vast talent of women writers who unfortunately have been lost in the world of literature. Who knows? You may just find a great new author.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    An interesting collection filled with a few gems and a few forgettable pieces. Susan Glaspell's "A Jury Of Her Peers" is a masterpiece. "Adventure Of The Clothes-Line" is genuinely funny and reminded me of the movie "Murder By Death," which I recently watched. Most of these stories at least provide a clever twist or satisfying ending, and I have to remember that what seems to a modern reader as a tired cliche might have been truly ground-breaking at the time. Case in point: The story where a det An interesting collection filled with a few gems and a few forgettable pieces. Susan Glaspell's "A Jury Of Her Peers" is a masterpiece. "Adventure Of The Clothes-Line" is genuinely funny and reminded me of the movie "Murder By Death," which I recently watched. Most of these stories at least provide a clever twist or satisfying ending, and I have to remember that what seems to a modern reader as a tired cliche might have been truly ground-breaking at the time. Case in point: The story where a detective magnifies a photograph to see a tiny detail that ends up leading to the suspect. Modern crime TV shows pretend that grainy security footage can be magnified a billion percent to solve a crime, and it's funny that a story published in 1865 used the same trope in the days of photography's infancy. A worthwhile read for me personally, but I understand the frustrations of those readers who expected something different based on the use of Agatha Christie's name in the cover.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    When you think of a collection of mysteries you tend to think of those that are either current authors, or perhaps the ones in collections of stories similar to Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. However Leslie Klinger has done a truly masterful job at piecing together this collection of masterpieces that are not only influential and on par with Agatha Christie, but I'm sure of writers today. Each one has a unique voice, and has been seemingly shadowed by Ms. Christie. However, I do not think that is beca When you think of a collection of mysteries you tend to think of those that are either current authors, or perhaps the ones in collections of stories similar to Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. However Leslie Klinger has done a truly masterful job at piecing together this collection of masterpieces that are not only influential and on par with Agatha Christie, but I'm sure of writers today. Each one has a unique voice, and has been seemingly shadowed by Ms. Christie. However, I do not think that is because they weren't as good, simply that they weren't as popular or perhaps published. During this time period women weren't exactly lauded for their creative writing skills. It is nice to see a diverse collection and that these women's stories are finally being given their credit.

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