When Helen Reilly began writing detective stories in the 1930’s, most female writers followed the Had-I-But-Known style. In this type of plot, a young woman unwittingly becomes involved in a romance with a handsome but evil man. The author usually tells the story from the woman’s point of view. Reilly wanted none of this. Instead, she wrote police procedurals, giving a detailed and realistic picture of a homicide squad in operation. Her female characters are not “flighty young things” but rather mature, competent persons. Reilly has been recognized by Howard Haycroft, an authority on the detective story, as one of the most important mystery writers of the 1930’s.