At B & N Reads Somers tagged five books that are arguably the first in their respective genres. The book that marks the start of the detective novel:
The Woman in White, by Wilkie CollinsRead about the book that marks the launch of the YA genre.
Published in 1859, there’s little argument that Collins’s novel about a mentally deranged woman, amateur sleuths, and a plot to steal a fortune is one of the first true detective novels ever written. Marian Halcombe and Walter Hartright are genuine amateurs, employing nothing more than their good sense and keen eye to slowly unravel a mystery involving switched identities and an enormous amount of money. The novel’s also notable for Collins’s somewhat progressive take on women’s rights, as the mystery centers on the lack of legal standing a wife had at the time when it came to her own money, and is written in a lively tone that makes it seem more modern than it actually is.
The Woman in White is among Adam Thorpe's list of five memorable pets in literature, Elizabeth Kostova's top ten books for winter nights and Philip Pullman's forty favorite books.