Mary Fortune (c. 1833-1910?) migrated from Canada to the Australian goldfields in 1855. She published her first detective stories in the Australian Journal in 1865, using the pseudonyms of 'Waif Wander' and 'W. W.'. In all, she wrote over 500 detective stories over 40 years, most featuring Detective Mark Sinclair. Her one book, The Detective's Album (1871), is the first known collection of detective fiction stories by a woman. She died an alcoholic, the date and place still unknown - somehow fitting for this pioneering woman of mystery.
"To fall asleep and dream deams that change as quickly as the forms in an unsteady kaleidoscope, and to awaken with a bewildered feeling that you are not yourself but having changed places with some other identity, must be a sensation akin to that I experienced when I opened my eyes in the morning after my first sleep on the diggings."
Little is known of Mary Fortune. She kept her identity secret by writing under the names of Waif Wander or W.W. Arriving in Australia with her young son she supported herself by writing about life on the goldfields and in the cities. She became Australia's first female writer of crime fiction.
|THE FORTUNES OF MARY FORTUNE - Lucy Sussex (ed)
|Saturday, January 2, 2010
|Currently Reading - The Fortunes of Mary Fortune, Lucy Sussex (ed)
|Monday, November 2, 2009