Brand : Erika Janik

Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction

David l. poremba |


In a short length of pages, ms. janik informs and enlightens the reader of the history of femalew detectives, professional and amateur, from fact and fiction. although the reader needs to feep up when she switches from character to character and fact to fiction, this is an enormously entertaining and educational read

Benjamin thomas |

Excellent perspective; highly recommended for mystery readers

This book offers a unique perspective on the history of women in law enforcement, examining the subject from both a factual and fictional point of view. the two are inevitably tied together but the author does a good job of demonstrating how fictional female detectives and policewomen reflect the times they live in. the book is broken into chapters by specific subject areas such as “the first police woman”, “spinster sleuth”, “girl detectives” and “hard boiled heroes” but it also leads us through time, taking us from the mid 1800’s all the way up to the present day. early chapters focus on how conditions were changing for women. “the formative years of detective writing coincided with the development of the women’s suffrage movement and women’s advancement into public life.” several chapters provide thorough background material beyond policing duties, including one chapter devoted to what life was like behind bars for female criminals. being a fan of detective and mystery stories i was especially drawn to the summaries of many of the important milestone works involving female sleuths, and wish more time had been spent on these parts. i enjoyed reading about how today’s well-known fictional stars like kinsey millhone, v.i. warshawski, kay scarpetta, mary russell, and temperance brennan, etc. grew from roots put down by characters nearly unheard of today such as eleanor vane, amelia butterworth, and maud silver. but readers need to beware that a couple of the examples provided in the text include spoilers on whodunit. it is necessary, however, to drive home the point the author is making at the time. after completing the book i now have a much better appreciation for the challenges that women have had to overcome to gain entrance into the mostly male fraternity of police work. despite the prevalence of tv shows and modern fiction featuring lady detectives, our society still has a long way to go before true equality is achieved.

Israel drazin |

A very good history both of the beginings of female detectives and police officers and of female fictional detectives and police

In 1856 private detective allan pinkerton hired kate warne as a detective. he never regretted his decision she could do things men could not do she had the ability to gain the confidence of other women. she became america’s first-known private eye. she broke the all-male police barrier and her success made it possible for other women to become detectives and to join police departments nation-wide. in 1910 in the los angeles police department, it was alice wells who took the oath to join the all-male police department; she was not openly visible as a "cop", not wearing a uniform and her badge was hidden in her pocketbook. because - the job was too dangerous for a woman! so the thinking and saying was! but all this changed in a very short time. perhaps the popular fictions that appeared at that time, written by very capable fiction writers like agatha christie, sue crofton, sara paretsky and more helped pave the way. women police persons came of age; they saved the neighborhoods and earned the respect of their fellow male professionals. this is a very well written police history book; a most read for male and female alike.