Madame Storey

Created by Hulbert Footner
(1879-1944)

“Madame Storey… bids fair to become One of the most popular figures of crime fiction. She is unique. She is irresistible”
Her exploits, as told in this volume, are spiced with action and startling denouements. Her methods of solving a mystery are extraordinary. To her envious confrére  they seem unreasonable, and therefore doubly exasperating; for she somehow always produces results and, in the wake of her genius follow drama and innumerable thrills”
— the blurb for Madame Storey: Greatest of Woman Detectives (1926)

One of the last, but arguably the most popular of the “Lady Detectives,” was Hulbert Footner’s MADAME ROSIKA STOREY, “that extraordinary woman” who made her debut in Argosy All-Star Weekly in 1923, and went on to appear in numerous short stories, novellas, novels and collections for over a decade.

Working as a psychologist and private eye, she appeared a little late to be considered a true rival to Sherlock Holmes, but she certainly could hold her own against the likes of contemporaries such as Philo Vance, Craig Kennedy et al. We’re contantly remeinded of her utter fabulousness, how fearless and intelligent she is, and how she’d play cat-and-mouse with killers, going undercover to break up criminal gangs, and unravel deadly mysteries, shucking the remnants of Edwardian and Victorian crime fiction for something a little more rooted in reality, and allowing for more psychological depth.

Besides apparently always being smarter than anyone else in the room, she must have been a total babe — the fawning description of her by her ever-faithful secretary Bella, who narrates her exploits in true Watson-like fashion, border on almost creepy:

“She was very tall and supremely graceful. It was impossible to think of legs in connexion with her movements. She floated into the room like a shape wafted on the breeze. She was darkly beautiful in the insolent style that causes plainer women to prim up their lips. . . .”

In her career, she took on everything from missing person cases to murder most foul, not just in New York City but around the world, her exploits playing out in Paris, Monte Carlo ands even “the Orient.”

Naturally she always feels at home, no matter where she and Bella are — and she always looks fabulous.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mystery writer, historian and playwright William Hulbert Footner was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and educated in New York City, where he began his career in journalism, before returning to Canada, where he began writing mystery and adventure stories set in the Northwest (Mounties!). Upon returning to the States, he began to focus primarily on crime fiction, creating two popular series characters: Amos Lee Mappin, a wealthy amateur sleuth and Madame Storey. He died in Baltimore, Maryland.

SHORT STORIES

  • “The Scrap of Lace” (August 4, 1923, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “In the Round Room” (March 1, 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “The Viper” (April 12, 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “The Steerers” (August 2, 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “The Ashcomb Poor Case” (1926, Madame Storey)
  • “The Smoke Bandit” (1926, Madame Storey)
  • “The Perfect Blackguard” (July 28, 1928, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “The Legacy Hounds” (September 18, 1926, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “The Pot of Pansies” (April 30, 1927, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “It Never Got Into the Papers” (March 24, 1928, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “Taken for a Ride” (December 14, 1929, Argosy)
  • “The Death Notice” (December 27, 1930, Argosy)
  • “The Casual Murder” (1932, The Casual Murder)
  • “The Scent of Almonds” (1932, The Casual Murder)
  • “Madame Storey’s Gigolo” (1932, The Casual Murder)
  • “Wine, Women and Murder” (May 1933, Mystery)
  • “The Sealed House” (July 1933, Argosy All-Story Weekly)
  • “Murder in the Spotlight” (November 1933, Mystery)
  • “The Kidnapping of Madame Storey” (December 2, 1933, Argosy)
  • “Which Man’s Eyes” (December 1933, Mystery)
  • “Pink-Eye” (March 3, 1934, Argosy)
  • “The Murders in the Hotel Cathay” (November 17, 1934, Argosy)
  • “The Girl Who Dropped from Earth” (March 1934, Mystery)
  • “The Last Adventure with Madame Storey” (May 1934, Mystery)
  • “Murder Masquerade” (1933, Murder Masquerade)

NOVELS

  • The Under Dogs (1925)
  • The Doctor Who Held Hands (1929)
  • Easy to Kill (1931)
  • Dangerous Cargo (1934)

COLLECTIONS

  • Madame Storey: Greatest of Woman Detectives (1926)
  • The Velvet Hand: New Madame Storey Mysteries (1928)
  • The Casual Murderer and Other Stories (1932)
  • The Almost Perfect Murder: More Madame Storey Mysteries (1933)
  • Murder Masquerade (1937)

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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