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Revelations of a Lady Detective (British Library Crime Classics) by [Hayward, William Stephens]
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Revelations of a Lady Detective (British Library Crime Classics) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 278 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

An absolute blast from beginning to end ... I d recommend Revelations to fans of Victoriana, readers of history-mysteries, and crime fans interested in the early days of our genre. --Past Offences

History buffs will be fascinated by the social settings --Good Reading

About the Author

William Stephens Hayward (1835-1870) was a prolific author of Victorian 'sensation' novels, historical novels and stories for boys' papers. His own life was not without scandal and he spent several years in a debtors' prison.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1173 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division (29 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B898Q8K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #321,854 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good fun. The writing style is a bit flowery, as you might expect, but not difficult to read. If you've read Sherlock Holmes then you'll be familiar with some of the themes: jewel thieves and secret societies composed of "foreigners" etc. The plots are not to be taken seriously, but are quite interesting. I didn't like the woman detective - she was so judgemental! Nevertheless I found the book entertaining.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think the stories in this book created the phrase; "Now what is the chance of that happening?" In most cases I think the answer would be 1:1,000,000,000.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gentle crimes, easily solved 25 Jan. 2015
By Martina A. Nicolls - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Revelations of a Lady Detective (1864, reprinted 2013) was the second time in literature that the female protagonist was a professional detective (six months after the first fictional female sleuth). She - readers only know her as Mrs. Paschal - pre-dates the iconic Sherlock Holmes. Like the Sherlock books, WS Hayward (1835-1870) sets his fictional novel in London. It was 20 years later when the third female detective character was in print. Hence this is both a story and a retrospective glimpse of a genre in which there are few leading female characters.

What do we know of this well-experienced detective Paschal? She is "verging on 40" and "rarely acts before she thinks." Not much else. The novel presents 10 cases - they are all brief and easily solved by the readers. Her unexpected presence as she solves crimes is rationalized in phrases such as "a woman is more likely to be successful in a thing of this sort, because men are thrown off their guard when they see a petticoat."

There are no high-tech devices or in-depth forensics, nor a myriad of disguises. Neither does she (or the author) know their physics! Mrs. Paschal solves crimes the "old fashioned" way - through surveillance, observation, eavesdropping, police files, clues, infiltration, and working in situ (after applying for employment to be close to the scene of the crime - with no disguise except for a work uniform).

The cases include robbery, forgery, a jewellery heist, and mistaken identity. But she does tackle murders too, such as the drowning of the "pretty shop girl" Laura Harwell.

One case, The Mysterious Countess, has the detective infiltrating the 25-year-old aristocrat's home, employed as the third lady's maid, on request of the London police to determine how she gained great wealth. Surprised that a man exited the room she had just been in (and had not seen him), she follows him right into an underground vault. Who is this midnight robber? The case of the Stolen Letters has her undercover in a post office, eventually following a man to his home where "the domestic hearth is something like wine. It shows men in their true characters."

The Nun, the Will, and the Abbess is the case of a mother deciding, on the advice of Father Romaine when her daughter was but two years old, that at eighteen she would "retire from the world" and enter a convent. But the girl's nineteen-year-old cousin, Alfred, fell in love with her and she reciprocated. The only way to marry her was to ask permission of her mother, or Father Romaine. On the "fatal" day, Alfred visited the chapel to witness Evelyn St. Vincent taking her vows. He watched as she fainted and was carried away. When Alfred went to the police, he was told it was "just the case for a Lady Detective" and so Mrs. Paschal became a noviciate in the convent to solve the case of Evelyn's death.

Written in the first person, the writing often slips unelegantly into the third person. And the short cases don't build suspense or engage the wit of the reader. For the linguists, there are quaint phrases, such as "When, ho! For the night mail, north." But for the curious, the style is easy and light for reading on the train.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revelations of Whom? 1 Jan. 2015
By Maude's Mama - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the tales of a female working in a "male universe" in an era when it "just wasn't done." the author's style was most readable, I was reluctant to put the book down. Subsequently, I read The Female Detective, not nearly as lively or interesting. I slogged through that one.
The reader of "Revelations ..." should be interested in the Victorian Era to enjoy the book fully.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A quaint and pleasant read. 17 Dec. 2013
By A. Gift For You - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The plot is told in advance almost every time but still fun to follow its unfolding. Worth the price of admittance.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars have to reread again, sorry 9 Dec. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not sure about this book. Usually I love this Victorian mysteries but could get into this one. I believe it's just me so going to read it again later. Gail
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Of historical interest only 2 Mar. 2014
By DJ Arboretum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the first fictional female detectives tells us her adventures. I really didn't find the writing engaging and did not finish the book. The stories I did read had significant plot holes and did not involve any real analysis of clues, just following suspects. The police already knew who they were after and just needed a woman to help them out. The idea that woman capable of being a detective would swoon once rescued by the police was enough to make stop reading. Of novelty and historic value only.
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