Although I share Richard W. Burris’s admiration for the talents of Marcia Muller [“Sharon Mc-Cone, a private eye worth knowing,” Free for All, Nov. 30], her Sharon McCone is not, to quote reviewer Anna Mundow’s statement about Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski, “the first credible female private investigator in American crime fiction” [“In this chase, Warshawski won’t be caught flat-footed,” Style, Nov. 25].

That title actually belongs to Maxine O’Callaghan’s character Delilah West. She debuted in “A Change of Clients,” published in a 1974 edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, before her book-length appearance in “Death Is Forever” (1980).

Muller’s “Edwin of the Iron Shoes” was published in November 1977. Both predate Paretsky’s Warshawski, who debuted in “Indemnity Only” in January 1982. Immediately following was Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone in “A Is for Alibi” (April 1982).

Elizabeth Foxwell,


The writer is managing editor of Clues: A Journal of Detection.