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Unpunished: A Mystery (The Elaine R. Hedges American Women's Literature Series) [Paperback]

Catherine J. Golden , Denise D. Knight

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Unpunished Written in the late 1920s but not published until 1997, this classic feminist mystery weaves Gilman's case for women's freedom and empowerment into a rich and twisted story that features a feisty husband-and-wife detective team. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vintage whodunit 19 Oct 2001
By L. Cesar - Published on
A vintage whodunit, this book includes wry humour, a subtle feminist commentary regarding women in 1920's society & even a butler! The story is a thoroughly enjoyable diversion (particularly needed in recent weeks). An excellent choice for Charlotte Perkins Gilman fans & anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a lost literary gem from Charlotte P.Gilman 25 Jun 2006
By bOoKwOrM - Published on
here's the text from the back of the paperback edition:

"Written in the late 1920's, this long-lost mystery by the author of such early feminist classics as The Yellow Wall-paper is a major literary find. Gilman's first and only detective novel spoofs the genre as it deconstructs the murder of a pernicious attorney who has been shot,stabbed,bludgeoned, strangled, and poisoned! The feisty husband-and-wife detective team that solves the murder presents a model of true partnership, while the unfolding details of the case offer poignant evidence of the injustice that poor and powerless women can suffer at the hands of a brutal man. Gilman weaves a case for women's freedom and empowerment into a mystery rich in twists and turns, colorful characters, red herrings, suspense, and wry humor."

There you have it, a lost classic from Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What are you waiting for? Get this little gem of a book, and discovery a forgotten 'classic in the making'.
4.0 out of 5 stars Late 1920s - United States 15 July 2009
By Lyn Reese - Published on
This book is a rare discovery, a recently found previously unpublished last major novel by this influential feminist author. It was written as a spoof on detective novels and includes a number of the author's social ideas. The story is not complex. A husband and wife detective team, Bess and Jim Hunt, solve the murder of a hated tyrant of a man who was found shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, strangled and poisoned! Lamentably, the book was written on the eve of Gilman's seventieth year, during a time of waning sympathy for women's rights. After an impressive body of work, she now had trouble placing her work, and Unpunished was never published.

The story's plot and 1920s speech patterns are not as engaging nor suspenseful as other books on our list. But it is an easy, sprightly read. As a champion of gender equality, Gilman gives us a conventional, contented wife in Bess, but one who eagerly assists husband Jim, who welcomes and admires Bess's imaginative help and, without negative comment, assumes some of the family's domestic chores. Gilman hits hard at the harsh patriarchal control of the story's father and his conniving friend, who both hold antiquated notions about the education of girls and female obedience. She also uses the story to underline the consequences of domestic, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as the economic dependence on men of women who have not been trained to support themselves.

Informative textual notes and a full afterword on Gilman written by Catherine Golden and Denise Knight make this a possible classroom text.
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