Lillian Armfield: How Australia's first female detective took on Tilly Devine and the Razor Gangs and changed the face of the force
An engaging account of an extraordinary, trailblazing woman - Australia's first female detective - LILLIAN ARMFIELD is also the vivid and gripping story of the origins of Sydney's organised crime underbelly.
'Special Constable' Lillian Armfield was policing Sydney's mean streets during some of the most dramatic years of crime in the city. By the late 1920s, eastern Sydney was the heartland of organised crime and the notorious turf battles known as the Razor Wars, where bloodied bodies were strewn across streets after late-night clashes between rival gangs. At first disapproved of by her male colleagues, and often working solo and undercover, Lillian investigated it all - from runaway girls, opium dens and back-street sly grog shops to drug trafficking, rape and murder. She dealt with the infamous crime figures of the day - Tilly Devine, Kate Leigh, 'Botany May' Smith and their associates - who eventually accorded Lillian a grudging respect.
Lillian Armfield's life and achievements were extraordinary. She paved the way for the women of today's police force and her amazing story is also a compelling chapter in Australian true crime history.
informed and entertaining - SYDNEY MORNING HERALD on THE WORST WOMAN IN SYDNEY
Dr Leigh Straw is an academic, historian and writer. Her previous book, The Worst Woman in Sydney, was a biography of Sydney underworld figure Kate Leigh. She is Senior Lecturer in Australian and Aboriginal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle.