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Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by [Janik, Erika]
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Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction Kindle Edition

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Length: 258 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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A history of the intrepid women who ventured into male territory to solve crimes. Janik investigates nearly two centuries of policewomen, female detectives, and fictional sleuths in this lively look at women s adventuresome careers...Janik points out that sleuthing seemed a logical career for unmarried women, in both fact and fiction. Agatha Christie s clever, observant Miss Marple and Dorothy Sayers s quick-witted Miss Katherine Climpson are two examples, among many others. Women broke through police ranks as well, first taking positions as matrons in police stations and prisons, where they forged connections to social workers...Janik creates vivid portraits of many feisty women, including contemporary TV detectives such as Jessica Fletcher of "Murder, She Wrote" and Jane Tennison of "Prime Suspect." An entertaining history of women s daring, defiant life choices.
"Kirkus Reviews"
Fiction and reality meet and mingle in this fascinating work of cultural history. Who are the great female detectives in literature? Who were their historical precedents? How did they make their way in a predominantly male world, whether we re talking about the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1861 or "SVU" on NBC? The best study of this hugely popular genre that I have ever read.
William Martin, author of "Back Bay" and "The Lincoln Letter"
Erika Janik does a fine job tracing the history of women in police work while at the same time describing the role of females in crime fiction. The outcome, with a memorable gallery of characters, is a rich look at the ways in which fact and fiction overlap, reflecting the society surrounding them. A treat for fans of the mystery and who isn t?
Katherine Hill Page, Agatha Award winning author of "The Body in the Belfry" and "The Body in the Snowdrift"
Vivid, engaging, and informative. Erika Janik presents a fascinating gallery of pioneering female crime solvers and the fictional heroines they inspired.
Daniel Stashower, Edgar Award winning author of "The Hour of Peril" and "Teller of Tales"

"From the Hardcover edition."" --Daniel Stashower

About the Author

Erika Janik is an award-winning writer, historian, and the executive producer of "Wisconsin Life" on Wisconsin Public Radio. She s the author of five previous books, including "Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine." She lives in Madison, Wisconsin."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7539 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (26 April 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01501I4IS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #909,302 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 July 2016
By A. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating Read 18 Mar. 2016
By Brad4d - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an interesting book especially for those of us who adore mysteries. Janik has intermixed the American nationwide history of women in the police force with the birth and enormous growth of lady detectives in fiction --- very parallel. We see the baby steps first taken in early 1800's when women were hired to be matrons of female inmates and progresses on to the work of Allan Pinkerton in 1.865. He hired the first woman detective - Kate Warne - who went places that men couldn't and was able to worm secrets from wife and lovers that most men couldn't.
The advent of murder fiction began with such well know names as Wilkie Collins, The Woman in white ( 1860), Edgar Allen Poe, and August Dupin ( 1841). The impact of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes' sealed the impact of detective fiction which is now the largest published genre in our country. Publications such as the National Police Gazette wetted the American public's appetite for sensational and bizaare, and promoting new authors to feed the public's interest. This is nothing new as you will see if you turn to the pages of the front pages of the local newspaper.
The best chapter for me was "Hard Boiled Sleuths" which discusses such well know authors as Mary Higgins Clark, Amanda Cross, Sue Grafton,Kathy Reichs, and Dorothy Sayers. I recommend this book to any of you who read in this genre. An interesting book well documented. My only criticism is the mixing of the fiction with fact which makes things a bit confusing at times.
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Material for One Book 18 Mar. 2017
By IsolaBlue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
In the 1980s and 1990s, an explosion of female detectives hit the bookstores in works written by women authors. There were so many new authors and new "lady detectives" (as author Erika Janik refers to them)l, that it was hard to keep up with them all. They created a unique genre within a genre. Friends were reading quickly, passing books on to others, and sharing notes about their favorite female sleuths. An entire book could be written about women authors and the female detectives of their creations. As Janik has so painstakingly pointed out, the genre has been around since at least the 1860s if not earlier. There is a great deal of material to cover here - historical, sociological, and literary - and it would take an entire book to flesh it all out properly. In many ways, that is the problem with Janik's PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS: she took on too wide a field for one book.

The other part of PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS is devoted to the sociological history of real-life women working within the criminal justice systems, as prison wardens in the early days up through to patrol officers and yes, on to detectives. Perhaps Janik thought that analyzing the literature of crime fiction through female detectives would be too dry a subject. Perhaps she thought that exploring how women came to work in prisons and police systems would be too wide an area to explore. It is likely that she thought the two made for a nice coupling, and hence - PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS.

Although well-written and factual, Janik's book can best be described as a primer for someone who knows very little about women authors and their fictional female detectives or very little about the growth of the criminal justice system and the role women played in it. For an overview of either, PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS is good. However, for anyone who has a deep interest in either field or who has studied one side of the other (or both), there is going to be very little new to learn. Still, one must give kudos to Janik for acknowledging the connection and addressing crime and detection through a decent book on women's studies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Perspective; Highly Recommended for Mystery Readers 4 Mar. 2016
By Benjamin Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but TMI to do it justice 28 Mar. 2017
By Bogopea - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Erika Janik wrote a primer of women in law enforcement to include fictional figures as well as real-life women. By law enforcement, I mean private detectives and police as well as those who wrote about them. What I enjoyed most, being a mystery buff, was learning about all the female authors as early as the 1800's who were writing these wonderful tales. While I had read several of them, I look forward to the other ones. A large part of the book is taken up with the real-life woman in law enforcement, with most of the focus being in the U.S. I applaud Janik's aim in writing this book but it falls short as she tries to cover too much material in this brief book. I also found a lot of redundancy as she retells various stories in order to convey another point further on in the book. However, the book was interesting and I was surprised to learn that as early as 1913 the U.S. had 38 policewomen, though their actual roles spanned a variety of duties, some of them pretty mundane. What was disheartening was to learn that even though women have proven themselves equal to men in this field, perceptions and employment numbers do not reflect that.
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