The Woman Detective

Gender & GenreSecond Edition

Author: Kathleen Gregory Klein
A feminist examination of the female private eye in literature
Paper – $33
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1995
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About the Book

Cordelia Gray. Honey West. V.I. Warshawski. By the mid-1990s, the female professional private investigator had enjoyed over a century of success as a much loved character type in English-language popular fiction. Kathleen Gregory Klein looks at almost 300 fictional PIs to offer a survey of the genre's heroines and anti-heroines. Klein's focus on British, Canadian, and American novels reveals that the detective novel is both a reflection of, and potential barrier to, social change for women. An afterword offers an assessment that foreshadows the directions authors and their creations would take in the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Kathleen Gregory Klein is editor of Great Women Mystery Writers: Classic to Contemporary and Women Times Three: Writers, Detectives, Readers and a former member of the advisory boards of The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing and Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers.


"A highly intelligent analysis."--Ms.“Real mystery fans will enjoy this survey of nearly 300 female sleuths in 100 years of British and U.S. fiction.”--Feminist Bookstore News

“Well-researched and well-written. Traces the evolution of sexist boundaries in popular detective fiction from a feminist viewpoint and documents the parallels in social history and the women’s rights movement.”--Ronald C. Miller, The Armchair Detective

“Identifies dozens of good novels whose titles are not well known, its promise of good reading extending well beyond its own covers.”--Jane Bakerman, Belles Lettres


Winner of the Emily Toth Award of the Women's Caucus for Popular Culture of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, 1989.