"The sun had set away behind Willamstown, but the red glow was still there, and lay like a shadow of blood on the placid waters of our bay."

Murder, love, courage. This triptych of nineteenth-century thrillers by Mary Helena Fortune, writing as Waif Wander, encompasses colonial Australia's sweeping landscapes, fearsome bushrangers, and the voices of women long silenced. Fortune, who has been all-but forgotten by Australian literary history, subverts the limits imposed on nineteenth-century female authors by writing about women who struggle against incredible odds . . . and sometimes win. 

Serialised in Australian periodicals between 1866 and 1887, these three mysteries were wildly popular, but lost to time. This beautiful, collectable edition celebrates a pioneering voice who knew how to write page-turning tales.


Waif Wander

Pseudonym Of

Mary Fortune

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.

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