Created by Zelda F. Popkin (1898-1983)
"Mary looked like year before last's debutante, last June's bride, this year's young matron. Prospective shoplifters, hesitating before a haul, never guessed that the pretty, well-groomed young woman in the oxford gray suit and kolinsky scarf, standing beside them at the counter, was far more interested in the behavior of their nimble fingers than in the quality of the step-ins, marked down from five-ninety-eight to three and a half. They -- poor, mis-led thieves -- took her at dress and face value. It was one of the secrets of her success as a minion of law and order."
This department store dick is a jane.
MARY CARNER is smart and tough, a crisply-efficient detective who works at Blankfort's swanky, upscale Fifth Avenue store in New York, in Zelda Popkins once-popular but now largely and unjustly forgotten series.
Unjustly, because Mary is, in many ways, a predecessor to many of today's female eyes such as Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski. She did what they too often get sole credit for: creating a viable, intelligent professional female detective who could hold her own in profession and time largely seen to be dominated by males. And she did it without a womens' studies program. She's a shrewd investigator, analytical and intuitive, and she's no cream puff, either. She can be bracingly direct and fiercely independent, a real woman doing a real job in the real world. And these books aren't some tra-la-la cozy little diversions, either -- Popkins wrote sharp, tough little gems full of subtle violence and surprising wit.
Popkin, was a novelist, magazine writer, publicist, and the author of fourteen books. At 17, she became the first woman general assignment reporter on the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, but left in 1917 to attend the Columbia University School of Journalism. In 1919 she married Louis Popkin, with whom she created one of the very first public relations firms in the United States. She also wrote several standalones, including So Much Blood (1944), which many consider her best work. Non-crime fiction novels include Quiet Street, Death of Innocence, Herman Had Two Daughters and Dear Once. Several of her Mary Carner books are now available as e-books
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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