Recently I introduced you to two of mystery fiction’s first young female sleuths. Today we continue our series on The Girl Detective, featuring one of my favorite early investigators.
If you read this blog, chances are you’re a fan of the girl detective. Whether you’re getting caught up with Myrtle Hardcastle or grew up with Nancy Drew, you are enjoying a breed of sleuth that has been entertaining readers and outwitting criminals since the earliest days of detective fiction.
Prolific American mystery author Anna Katharine Green penned nine splendid stories about her debutante detective Violet Strange. In 1910s New York, Violet leads a double life. In between her pressing schedule of dinner parties and opera outings, well-to-do Violet moonlights for an exclusive private detective agency, quietly solving the potentially scandalous problems of New York high society.
In such varied tales as “The Second Bullet” and “Missing: Page Thirteen,” Violet solves unsolvable murders, finds lost wills, rescues heiresses… and falls in love. When she’s finally able to solve her own poignant mystery, Violet can put aside her adventurous career and settle down to her comfortable Edwardian destiny of marriage and family.
But along the way, Violet’s brief but impressive career included some of the best short mysteries of the era. You can read all of Violet’s “problems” at Project Gutenberg and catch up with more of Green’s mystery fiction here.
Can’t get enough 19th century girls solving mysteries? Make sure your library includes the full collection of Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries! And don’t forget Myrtle Hardcastle #4, In Myrtle Peril, coming October 2022!