You are here:
Private Inquiries: The Secret History of Female Sleuths
Works of: Non-fiction
The female private detective has been a staple of popular culture for over 150 years, from Victorian lady sleuths to ‘busy-body spinsters’ and gun-toting modern PIs. But what about the real-life women behind these fictional tales – what crimes did they solve, and where are their stories?
Dismissed as ‘Mrs Sherlock Holmes’ or amateurish Miss Marples, mocked as private dicks or honey trappers, they have been investigating crime since the mid-nineteenth century – theft, fraud, burglary, missing persons, blackmail, drugs, robbery, romance scams, industrial espionage, and murder.
In Private Inquiries, Caitlin Davies traces the history of the UK’s female investigators, uncovering the truth about their lives and careers from the 1850s to the present day. Women like Victorian private inquiry agent Antonia Moser, the first woman to open her own agency; Annette Kerner, who ran the Mayfair Detective Agency on Baker Street in the 1940s; and Liverpool sleuth Zena Scott-Archer, who became the first woman president of the World Association of Detectives.
Caitlin also follows in the footsteps of her subjects, undertaking a professional qualification to become a Private Investigator, and meeting modern PIs to find out the reality behind the fictional image.
Female investigators are on the rise in the UK – and despite the industry’s sleazy reputation, nearly a third of new trainees are women. After a century of undercover work, it’s time to reveal the secrets of their trailblazing forebears.
Other books by Caitlin Davies
Bad Girls: The Rebels and Renegades of Holloway Prison
Queens of the Underworld: A Journey into the Lives of Female Crooks
Join the CWA
Become part of a thriving community of successful crime writers with invaluable support, expertise and marketing opportunities for all our members.
Advertise with us