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Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective Hardcover – May 16, 2017
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Young Kate Warne walks into the Pinkerton Detective Agency equipped only with courage, creativity, and the ability to tell a good story and steps straight into the imagination of her readers. Detailed and humorous illustrations complement a fast-paced biography framed as a mystery. Readers will delight in this accessible portrait of a clever detective who used her courage and conviction to solve crimes and open doors for other enterprising women. (Lesley Mandros Bell Oakland Library Advisory Commission)
Ah, yet another instance of children's books making me smarter (and better at trivia games). KATE WARNE: PINKERTON DETECTIVE by Marissa Moss, illustrated by April Chu (Creston Books, 2017) tells the fascinating story of the first female detective in the United States.
We've all heard of the Pinkerton Detectives, but I'm sure most of us have a visual of men in suits and hats, not a young woman in a corset (Note: this originally read corset and a bustle, but I checked with Marissa Moss and she informed me bustles were not worn at that time. AGAIN, getting smarter through children's lit).
At first, Pinkerton was reluctant to hire her, he did not think it was work that a woman could do. Kate was ready for his objections. "...it's precisely the sort of thing a woman should do... As a woman, I can go places your male agents can't. A criminal may confide in his wife or lady friend. And those women will talk to another woman. Not to a man."
In 1856, the Pinkerton Agency was given The Adams Express Case, in which $40,000 was embezzled or stolen from pouches. The pouches were all locked (numerous times) and no one person had all the keys, so where had the money gone?
There were a couple of suspicions, but no proof, and how to get that proof when no one can find the money?
Well, I"M not going to tell you how it was done, you have to read the book for that!
I WILL tell you that the case could not have been solved without Kate's ideas and undercover work, so, not only was Kate the first female detective, she helped solve the case that made the Pinkerton Agency's stellar reputation.
To add to the depth of this book are the illustrations by April Chu. As a non-artist, I am not quite sure how to describe the page layout, some are in thirds, some are split screen, all draw the reader further into the story. The end papers, filled with wanted posters and early versions of mug shots, get the story started as soon as the book is opened.
Honestly, I cannot recommend this book enough. History, mystery, womenstry (sorry, I was on a roll) it's a fun, challenging (I couldn't figure out the mystery) and informative read. (Sharon Levin Life, Literature, Laughter)
When Kate Warne applied for a job with the Pinkerton Agency, Allan Pinkerton assumed she wanted to cook or clean, but he agreed to try her out as an agent. Assigned to a tough case with high stakes, Warne went undercover and not only found the stolen money, she got almost all of it returned. The Adams Express Case made the reputation of the fledgling Pinkerton Agency, turning it into the biggest, most prestigious detective company in the world. Warne went on to direct an entire women's division of detectives and Pinkerton relied on her for his hardest cases. This is an aspect of American history well worth knowing and author Marissa Moss's inherently fascinating story is wonderfully enhanced with the illustrations of April Chu. The result is a singularly informative and entertaining picture book that is unreservedly recommended for young readers ages 5 to 13 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library American Biography picture book collections. (Midwest Book Review)
--Anni West LaPrise, Huron School District
"Young readers will love meeting the fascinating Kate Warne in this exciting mystery within a biography. Gorgeous art perfectly captures the intrigue while the fast-paced high profile case will keep readers flying through the pages. Sure to please a wide audience."
--Jenna Friebel, Oak Park Public Library
"Fresh, informative with the 'pop' of a well-crafted STING! Both boys and girls along with their families will be rooting for Kate -- from her coup as first female detective at the Pinkerton Agency to cracking the case with the help of BOOKS. The illustrative style can't be beat."
-- Cynthia Callander, Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
Moss tackles an important incident in the life of Kate Carter―aka Kate Warne―the first female professional private detective in the United States. Accompanied by Chu's historical-period visuals, Moss begins with Allan Pinkerton's hiring of Kate Warne, an ambitious, adventurous white woman who talks her way into the job, before getting to the nub of this story: Warne's undercover work in disentangling the theft of $40,000 from a courier's secure pouch. The sinuous trap laid by the detectives involved in the case― all Pinkerton men and one Pinkerton woman―is colorful enough to withstand the necessarily telegraphic narrative that Moss employs to fit the story into picture-book format. There is double-dealing and spying and subterfuge, close calls and traps and brain work, melding the story into a thriller and highlighting the talents and qualities that a woman brings to what is misconceived as a man's job. Moss has picked a special moment in time as well as a special woman, spelled out in an author's note: Pinkerton's beginnings marked the turning of detective work to professionals. In Chu's sepia-toned illustrations, Warne wears a determined expression, matched by the scowls of the villains, which recall such great historical yarns as The Great Train Robbery. A cinematic treatment of derring-do and yet another testament to the importance of women in the historical evolution of the United States. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10) (Kirkus Reviews)
With the need for more stories about historical women who overcame the prejudices of the day and had the adventurous life that draws young readers, librarians will want to include this in their collections. Kate shows that reading books does matter and will help you succeed in the future. This may inspire a few future detectives." (Anni La Prise Huron School District)
Kate Warne made history by becoming the first female detective in the U.S., and this beautifully illustrated biography offers details of her early career. After impressing Allan Pinkerton with her argument for the importance of women detectives, she's assigned an embezzlement case, and she poses as a society lady to earn the trust of a suspect's wife. With her quick thinking, cool attitude, and superior observation skills, Kate befriends the woman and learns key details about the crime. Thanks to her excellent work on her first case, she eventually heads up Pinkerton's women's division. Chu's full-bleed, antique-toned illustrations have a cinematic flair, which nicely heightens the dramatic tension. (Booklist)
True crime for the middle-grade set!
Not much is known about Kate Warne's early life. We know she needed a job when she answered Alan Pinkerton's newspaper ad for a detective. Dubious at first, Pinkerton hired Warne and put her to work immediately on the Adams Express Case: $40,000 disappeared from four different packages handled by a company that specialized in transporting money and valuables around the country. An arrest was made―but the evidence and the missing money was nowhere to be found, so Warne was sent in to make friends with the suspect's wife. The story chronicles Warne's steps toward solving the puzzling mystery.
April Chu's sepia-toned illustrations work nicely for the era and she sets the mood with Wanted posters on the endpapers. Shifting perspectives, close-ups, and pronounced facial expressions draw the readers' eyes and force them to be as observant as a good detective. (Cindy Dobrez & Lynn Rutan Book List Reader)
In a story infused with mystery, Moss (the Amelia's Notebook series) introduces Kate Warne, who became the first woman detective in the U.S after being hired by the Pinkerton Agency in 1856. The brunt of the book follows Warne through an early case involving $40,000 in stolen funds, during which she adopted an alias and befriended the wife of the prime suspect. Chu (Ada Bryon Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) amplifies the story's intrigue in shadowy scenes that capture the unfolding game of cat and mouse. (Publishers Weekly)
Montgomery, Alabama, 1856. The case ? $40,000 stolen. Kate Warne, America's first female detective, solved the Addams Express case and went on to oversee a division of women detectives. (Scholastic Teacher Magazine)
Junior Library Guild Selection
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