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Sinclair, Mark. Mark Sinclair was created by “James Skipp Borlase,” the pseudonym of the Australian author Mary Fortune, and appeared in over 500 stories and one collection from 1866 to 1909, beginning with “The Dead Witness, or, the Bush Waterhole” (The Australian Journal, Jan. 20, 1866).

Mark Sinclair is an Australian police officer. At the beginning of his career he is very much of his time, a Melbourne policeman who ventures into the brush in pursuit of criminals, and who accepts reward money for his actions. But by the end of his career he is of the 1900s, “hard-working and cynical,” and thinks about resigning from the police force to become a private eye.

* I'm including the Mark Sinclair stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of their historical importance to Australian detective and mystery fiction. Fortune was a giant in the field of Australian detective and mystery fiction, and Sinclair was the first significant series detective in Australian detective fiction. He'd be historically notable if he was only the first, but his longevity--over 500 stories over the course of 43 years--meant that for decades he was the archetype of detective and the fictional policeman to Australian readers. Moreover, Fortune was a wise enough author to make Sinclair change with the times, so that while he began as an 1860s Australian policeman, as familiar with the bush as with the city, by the 1890s he went through a Great Detective period and in the late 1900s he was as hard-working, cynical, and proto-hardboiled as any policeman character. In this way did Fortune and Sinclair help guide Australian detective fiction so that it kept current with the changes to detective fiction in the rest of the world. 

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