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.


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.

Country of Origin



Year of Publication
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Blog Currently Reading - Three Murder Mysteries, Mary Fortune
Karen Chisholm
Friday, July 24, 2009

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