One of the interesting sessions at the 2009 Crime & Justice Festival was Lucy Sussex presenting a talk on Mary Fortune. Mary Fortune (c 1833-1909) was a pioneer Australian crime fiction author, and for too long she's been little known / little discussed.
A couple of books made possible by Lucy are now available which discuss Mary - Three Murder Mysteries is a collection of 3 of Mary's own stories and The Fortunes of Mary Fortune by Lucy herself which is the story of Mary Fortune. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the short stories signed by Lucy at the Crime and Justice Festival, and subsequently to track down a copy of Lucy's own book - albeit secondhand, as it is now out of print which is very sad.
Still - the 3 murder mysteries are fascinating reading, I'll write up a more detailed review asap.
Mary Fortune never signed her name to her fiction. She was known as WW or Waif Wander. She did her life under these pseudonyms. She wrote and had published over five hundred crime stories all set in Australia. In 1871 a collection of these were published with the title The Detective's Album.
This incredible writer has been largely forgotten and was unknown as a person until Lucy Sussex took up her cause and went in search of her life.
The three 'Murder Mysteries' here published are examples of Mary Fortune's great skill in writing 'detective fiction' at this early period when the genre was in the beginning stages of a now popular form of fiction. The three stories are introduced by Lucy Sussex.