James Redding Ware (1843 – 1909)

“Andrew Forrester is the pseudonym of the British writer James Redding Ware (1832-c 1909), creator of one of the first female detectives in fiction. His publications include: The Female Detective (c.1863/4), ‘edited by A.F.’; Secret Service, or, Recollections of a City Detective (?1864); The Private Detective and Revelations of the Private Detective (both c.1868).

Forrester was for many years known to be a pseudonym, but who he was was unknown. However, recently one of his stories, ‘A Child Found Dead: Murder or No Murder?’, was discovered, reprinted as a pamphlet and published under the name of J. Redding Ware, as ‘The Road Murder’, an analysis of the Constance Kent case. With this as a clue, Forrester/Ware’s first stories of the female detective can be found in a journal entitled Grave and Gay in summer 1862, which makes his female detective predate the 1863/4 appearance of [?W. S. Hayward], “The Revelations of a Lady Detective”‘ although not that of Ruth Traill.

James Redding Ware was born in Southwark, south London, in 1832, the son of James Ware, a grocer, and Elizabeth, nee Redding. By 1851, his father had died, and his mother, according to the census, was a grocer and tea-dealer, and James Redding Ware was her assistant. By 1861, the household is no longer in place, and J. R. Ware is not readily identifiable in the census. But in 1865, James Redding Ware became a Freemason, at the Westbourne Lodge No. 733, and he was living in Peckham. (He became a Junior Warden at the Urban Lodge, no. 1196, and by 1872 a Worshipful Master (WM).)

In 1860 a novel, The Fortunes of the House of Penyll. A Romance of England in the Last Century (Blackwood’s London Library) was published, with illustrations by Phiz, under the name J. Redding Ware. By 1868, he was a contributor to the Boy’s Own Paper, the series of penny-bloods owned by Edwin Brett, although no particular work has been attributed to him. He also contributed to Bow Bells Magazine.

He was also the author of The Death Trap, a play staged at the Grecian Saloon, City Road, Shoreditch, with George Conquest, the theatre manager, as the villain. He had now become a jobbing writer for hire, producing books on chess, supplying text for a book of photographs on the Isle of Wight, a volume of “The Life and Speeches of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold”, “Mistaken Identities. Celebrated Cases of Undeserved Suffering, Self-Deception, and Wilful Imposture”, as well as writing extensively for magazines. His only seeming connection to his early days as a writer of detective stories was with the publication, possibly in 1880, of “Before the Bench: Sketches of Police Court Life” (London, Diprose & Bateman). Posthumously, however, he was most famous for “Passing English of the Victorian Era. A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase” (London, Routledge, 1909), published shortly after his death.”

Source: Wikipedia on-line


James Redding Ware (1843 – 1909) — 2 Comments

  1. Wish I could take full credit for this interesting Ware but I just gave a
    pointer or two to our wonderful Vicki and she assembled the entry.

  2. Interesting. Sounds like a man living two lives. One extremely talented and the other perhaps unknown. Good post.

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