by | Apr 12, 2024 | Mystery Minute | 2 comments

By Z.J. Czupor

On Tour with Dead Writers is Z.J. Czupor‘s new installment on Rogue Women Writers. Guess the correct dead writer to be entered to win a free book.

The co-creator of this chair wrote the first whodunit mystery
This oak chair was designed in the early 1900s by the husband of this famous author of mysteries. In fact, according to a book about the Art Nouveau furniture maker, it credits the mystery author as a collaborator in her husband’s works. The chair is on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This author’s debut novel was the first to establish the “whodunit” and the idea that “everyone and nobody” is a suspect. Further, because of her insight into legal matters, Yale University law professors used her novel as “an example of the perils of trusting circumstantial evidence.” Her novel also sparked a vigorous debate in the Pennsylvania State Senate over whether the book could really have been written by a woman.

She worked on her first novel for six years before G.P. Putnam’s Sons published it in 1878. She later married, raised a family, and wrote three dozen more novels over the next forty-five years. 

Her innovative plots thrilled readers with dead bodies in libraries, relied on newspaper clippings as clues, the coroner’s inquest, and expert witnesses. In retrospect, her writing leaned on Victorian conventions of romantic love scenes and stilted dialogue, but her stories were tightly plotted, well-constructed and engrossing to readers. While she succeeded in a genre dominated by male writers, she disapproved of many of her feminist contemporaries, and she opposed women’s suffrage, the mid-19th century fight to win the right for women to vote.

Who was this famous trailblazing author of mysteries?

Send the correct answer to mysteryminutecontest@gmail.com by 12:00 p.m., ET, April 20th and you may be chosen to win Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark.

Did you guess Elmore Leonard last month? Jackie in California won a copy of Let Justice Descend by Lisa Black

Z.J. Czupor's author image, writer of On Tour with Dead Writers: Whodunit

Z.J. Czupor’s new murder mystery, When The Fog Rises, is published at zjames.substack.com. He’s also the author of the thriller Cut Right Through Me (also at Substack) and a book of poetry THE BIG WEIRD: Haikus in Times of Pandemic and Chaos. Z.J. is immediate past president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. He is represented by Terrie Wolf, founder and owner of AKA Literary Management.

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  1. Jenny Milchman

    Could it be Carolyn Wells?

    Here we are still writing and reading “everyone and anyone” mysteries!

    Thanks for another fun MM

  2. Terrie Wolf

    You’ve stumped me, Z.J. – can’t wait to find out this month’s featured dead author!