A Story about the
Nation's First Woman Detective
Albert Whitman & Company
(published 3.1.2016) 32 pages
A True Tale
with A Cherry On Top
A uthor: Elizabeth Steenwyk
C haracter: Kate Warne
O verview from the jacket flap:
"The president was in peril but Kate Warne knew what to do.
One day in 1856, a young woman showed up at the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency asking for work. A female detective? No one had heard of such a thing! But Kate knew she could do the job as well - or better - than a man. Before long Kate was donning disguises, solving cases, and becoming one of Pinkerton's best detectives.
Then came a secret that would affect the whole country: an undercover plot to assassinate President Lincoln on the way to his inauguration! The Pinkerton detectives had to stop it from happening, and Kate Warne set out on her most important mission. What would it take to save the day?"
T antalizing taste:
"Pinkerton hired her the next day and, just like that, Kate Warne became the first female detective in the nation.
She disguised herself in fancy gowns and turned up at society parties. Many of the women there were married to successful men in business and politics, and they were eager to talk about their husbands' careers, especially to Kate, who they thought was one of them. Sometimes she dressed as a fortune-teller or wore other disguises to parties. She collected useful information this way."
and something more: I was fascinated to learn about Kate Warne's direct involvement in preventing the Baltimore assassination plot. The Note at the back of the book explains that at "a time when women had few rights and received little credit for their work, Kate pushed boundaries and defied expectations.
The Pinkerton Detective Agency became the Union Intelligence Service during the Civil War, and its role in protecting President Lincoln made it the precursor to the U.S. Secret Service of today. After the Civil War ended, Kate continued to work for Pinkerton until her death in 1868, when she was just thirty-eight years old, presumably of pneumonia."