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The New Female Detective


What I have to say is simple enough: it is that the first genuine woman hero, previously depicted, may be found incarnated as the contemporary female detective in fiction. Starting in the 1970s, women detectives who were neither conventional nor committed to the safe and sure began to emerge in mystery narratives. Women detectives had been imagined before; but it was not until the list of books in print included more women sleuths than I could count that I felt a revolution had arrived. Like all women's revolutions, it had been little noticed and noticed by the media only to be scorned. Not perfection; not even comfort, or acclamation, or absolute success marked the careers of these intrepid women. But there they were, for the first time in literature: female protagonists who did not conform to any female pattern yet devised, inscribed, or recommended.

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