The Phantom Hearse

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Sinopsis

The Phantom Hearse means death. Death always comes to the house where it’s sighted on moonlit evenings. But why does wicked old Jones love to talk about it so much? ¶ Mary Helena Fortune was a pioneer in detective fiction, albeit largely a unknown one. She travelled from Canada to Australia in 1855, where for the next fifty years, she contributed to magazines and newspapers under the pseudonyms “Waif Wanderer”, “W.W.”and her own initials “M.H.F.”. She wrote in a variety of genres: poetry, serialized novels, memoirs, and even gothic romance. But most significantly, she wrote over 500 detective stories. Her collection of stories, The Detective’s Album, by W.W. was published in 1871, and was described as, “The first book of detective stories to appear in Australia”. Only one copy is known to remain in existence. ¶ Mary Fortune helped delineate a few of the techniques significant in detective fiction. For example, the forensic manner in which the crime is treated, and delivering the story from the point of view of the detective. The Phantom Hearse also includes a supernatural element, which is also innovative, and synchronous with some Russian crime fiction.

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