What is the Best If you like early murder mysteries then try The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green?
Review of the If you like early murder mysteries then try The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green:
If you like early murder mysteries then try The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green
– Just finished this and feel like I have been on a journey. This is a murder mystery, a classic whodunnit but was written in 1878. That puts it before any of the Sherlock Holmes stories and a long way before Agatha Christie.
It is considered the first ever work of detective fiction and yet all the elements: quirky detective, complex plotting, red herrings, hidden back stories, forensic analysis etc are there. The written style does get bogged down with purple prose occasionally but you soon get used to that.
Two orphaned girls are brought up as sisters by a wealthy industrialist. One turns out to be stunningly beautiful, the other complex and thoughtful. Then the old guy gets murdered. His door was locked and they were the only people in the house – or were they?
The suspicion shifts from one character to the other and as other people are drawn in, the true complexity of what actually happened that night becomes more apparent. We see the story through the eyes of a Watson-like side-kick to the idiosyncratic detective, Ebenezer Gryce. Its one of those stories where even seasoned armchair detectives will keep changing their minds about who the guilty party actually is.
Anna Katharine Green was American and the story is set in New York. But everything about this novel is typical of the English whodunnit genre and I kept being surprised when something was mentioned that reminded me that this wasnt London or St Mary Mead.
Green, it turns out, wrote another 32 mystery novels after this one. I am looking forward to binging my way through them.
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