Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

THREE MURDER MYSTERIES by Mary Fortune is an absolute little treasure of a book and I feel so grateful to Lucy Sussex for her pursuit of Mary's story and her writing, and for getting this wonderful little book published.

Mary Fortune had over five hundred crime stories published, all set in Australia.  In 1871 a collection of these were published under the title The Detective's Album - a book which is now very very rare and very very expensive.

The three stories that Lucy has chosen to be incorporated in this little book are wonderful examples of not only Mary Fortune's skill as a writer, but how good crime fiction doesn't age.  The themes of these stories are as valid now as they were in the late 1800's when they were written.

IN THE CELLAR is set in the goldfields in and around Maryborough in Victoria, THE HART MURDER in the fledgling farming world of early Victoria whilst THE PHANTOM HEARSE takes the reader into the city (and raises the tantalising prospects of ghosts on the streets of Melbourne!). 

Not only are these short stories which are clever in their execution, they are extremely entertaining.  Touches of a puzzle for the reader to solve, they explore the same sorts of social issues that we are still dealing with today.  There is also a light touch of humour in some. 

Leaving aside the tale of Mary Fortune herself, THREE MURDER MYSTERIES is made up of three wonderful short stories from the beginnings of the genre in Australia.

Year of Publication

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.

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

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