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Rise of the Policewoman

Merle Jacob, well-known librarian and author, credits Dorothy Uhnak as the creator of the first fictional female police detective.  Her New York City police detective Christie Opara first appeared in The Bait (Simon and Schuster, 1968).  In Christie, we see many of the traits that still characterize female police protagonists.  She is tough and witty; beautiful, blonde and young (26 years).  She is a single mom; her policeman husband was killed in the line of duty.  There is an occasional hint of romance between Christie and her boss, Casey Reardon.  After writing only three books starring Christie, Uhnak went on to write non-series crime novels like  Law and Order (Simon and Schuster, 1973) that won her more fame and best-seller status.  Uhnak was herself a policewoman with the New York City Transit Police for fourteen years.  Her first book was the non-fiction  Policewoman: A Young Woman’s Initiation into the Realities of Justice (Simon & Schuster, 1964), written while she was still in uniform.  To read Merle Jacob’s article in the Severn House newsletter, click here.  Most of Uhnak’s books are now available in Kindle editions.

–posted 5/28/2014

Posted May/28/2014

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