Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
King, Ethel. Ethel King appeared in the German dime novel Ethel King, ein Weiblicher Sherlock Holmes #1-201 (1908-1911); her stories were reprinted and revised and adapted across Europe, Scandinavia, the Ottoman Empire, Poland, and Russia from 1908 to 1924, and in France by the French author Jean Petithuguenin (Pierre Briscard, Klaus Störtebecker).
Ethel King is a Great Detective. She is a tough, no-nonsense (though of course feminine) detective who takes on and defeats some very tough customers, from the Yellow Peril “Long Ho, the Chinese Horror” to "The League of Revolvers" to “The Bomb Woman” to “the Beast of Havana” to the Lupin Zwerg-Fred to "the Dangerous Amazon" to "the Black-Bearded Nihilist" to the Evil Surgeon “Professor Smith, the Fiend in Human Form.” Her arch-enemy is the Lupin Stanford, but she takes on many female criminals, including three malicious doppelgangers of herself as well as the "Demon Wife," the Femme Fatale Salome, "Jaconda the Snake Tamer," "Jane Davis the Angel-Maker," and "Lilly Broons, the Husband Murderer." Many of her enemies are poor. And there are definite class issues, anti-Catholic issues, and enemies-of-Germany issues in the stories. She is in her mid-twenties and is a native of Philadelphia, with a comfortable villa at 77 Garden Street. She was driven to crime-solving by the deaths of her father and fiancé, both private detectives.
King is assisted by her cousin Charley Lux, who was orphaned as a child and raised by Ethel, and by her servant Sara Cramp, a clever governess. In the German original she is modeled on Sherlock Holmes, but in the French and Italian versions she is explicitly compared to Nick Carter (I). The French version of Ethel King is described as being a real detective and as having been recommended to Petithuguenin by Nick Carter himself; it may be that the French version of Ethel King was based on Carter's first wife, Ethel Dalton.
King appears in stories with titles like “Bloody Fox, the Woman Murderer,” “The Devil’s Question Mark,” “The Terror Monastery of St. Peter,” and “The Dangerous Amazon.”
* I'm including Ethel King in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because she was archetypal and because Ethel King, ein Weiblicher Sherlock Holmes was full of ideasplosions. King was the first major female detective to appear during the 1905-1914 First Wave of international dime novels, pulps, gialli, heftromane, etc., and became archetypal, so that the female detectives to succeed her in the dime novels and pulps and etc. were largely modeled on her. That shouldn't have surprised anyone, because she's a modernized version of the female detectives who appeared in the American dime novels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the New Woman and Modern Woman detectives who appeared in mainstream magazines in the early 20th century; Ethel King was the inheritor of three-decade-old legacy, but she was first in the First Wave of European dime novels, and that mattered as far as her influence went. Too, the imaginative content of the Ethel King stories--the names on that list of enemies given above is splendid--Ethel King was following in the footsteps of the 1905 German Buffalo Bill heftroman, which had numerous ideasplosions in it, but since there weren't many heftromane being sold when Ethel King debuted, she was perhaps the second or third heftroman to feature the ideasplosions which would become the heftromane's trademark--meant that other writers, inside Germany and outside, would attempt to imitate that aspect of Ethel King as part of their attempt to try to duplicate the runaway success of Ethel King.
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