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
Storey, Madame. Madame Storey was created by Hulbert Footner (Amos Lee Mappin) and appeared in thirty-five stories and eight novels and short story collections from 1922 to 1935, beginning with “Madame Storey’s Way” (Argosy All-Story Weekly, Mar. 11, 1922).
Madame Rosika Storey is a great beauty and an ironic wit. She has the cultured, experienced manner of a woman of the world who has been most places, done most things, perhaps had her heart broken once or twice, and learned not to pay attention to society's dictates, but to do what pleases her. To society she is shocking. She smokes. She is a businesswoman who owns and operates her own business. She is independent, without a man to rely on (read: dominate her). Worse, her business is a detective agency, one close to the District Attorney's office and police headquarters, and staffed by at least a dozen full-time employees.
Madame Storey is experienced, very bright, insightful, a good investigator, and someone with little patience or tolerance for fools. She is assisted by her monkey, Giannino, who sits on her shoulder and steals her cigarettes. Storey's friend, Watson, and Girl Friday is the modest and clever Bella Brickley. Despite considerable native wit, Bella is insecure, as she lacks Storey's beauty and attractiveness to men, and seems to need Storey to reassure her. She and Storey have interesting adventures in America and England, against some convincingly vicious criminals, even an occasional Mad Scientist, and Storey tramples all before her.
* I'm including the Madame Storey stories and novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because she's charming and they are fun to read. There was a trend in detective and mystery fiction in the 1910s and 1920s toward making idealized women the protagonists, whether as crime-fighters or as heroic thieves. The Madame Storey stories and novels were a part of this trend, but they stand apart from the rest of the idealized women protagonist stories thanks to Footner's light-handed touch with the stories and with the skill with which he makes Madame Storey as appealing as he does. The Madame Storey fictions haven't aged much, and her independent flapper-esque qualities have become even more attractive in the 21st century than they were in the 20th century.
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