I love Lucy
Beyond the zest lie fascinating facts:
– Crime has been part of Australian fiction since its beginnings “precisely because of the nation’s origins as a penal colony.”
– The first known Australian murder mystery novel, Force and Fraud (serialized in 1865), was written by a woman, Ellen Davitt.
– The Shepherd’s Hut, which became the first Australian crime serial, features a transvestite bush ranger.
Here’s a link to Sussex's article about Mary Fortune, a 19th-century pioneer whose life contains enough adventure for several stories: “Her ‘The Detective’s Album’, a series of self-contained crime tales – the form later used by Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes – was published for over forty years, making it the longest running series in the early history of crime fiction. … Seven of her stories were reprinted in book form, as The Detective’s Album: Tales of the Australian Police (1871), the first book of detective fiction published in Australia. Yet nobody knew who she was…”
And now, a historical question for readers: What is your favorite fact, tidbit, anecdote or excerpt from crime fiction’s early history?
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Australian crime fiction