"This inaugural volume in the Library of Congress Crime Classics series, featuring the first woman sleuth in a series, is a must for genre buffs."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
From the "mother of detective novel" and the first book unearthed in exclusive partnership with the Library of Congress, That Affair Next Door follows Miss Amelia Butterworth, an inquisitive single woman in the Victorian Era who becomes involved in a murder investigation after the woman next door turns up dead.
Heralded as a perfect vintage murder mystery, That Affair Next Door is:
• For fans of historical crime mysteries and crime classics
• For readers of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series
• For fans of trailblazing women on and off the page
Miss Amelia Butterworth prides herself on being an observer of human nature, especially of the people she sees every day from her usual spot at her front window—that is, until she witnesses the prelude to a ghastly murder. Late at night, two people enter her neighbor's home, but only one leaves. The next morning a young woman is found dead, crushed beyond recognition beneath a cabinet. But her death was no accident—it soon comes to light that she was stabbed by a seemingly innocuous item: a hat pin.
Rife with social tension and mistaken identity, the messy case is assigned to veteran Detective Ebenezer Gryce. He expects Miss Butterworth to demurely return home, but she was there at the beginning of this case and she intends to see it through to the end. Miss Butterworth is determined to solve the mystery before the detective, but what begins as a battle of the sexes soon turns into a fight for the ever-elusive truth.
Anna Katharine Green is credited as the "mother of the detective novel," and the classic That Affair Next Door proves that the intrigue of a well-crafted mystery is timeless.
First published in 1897, this cleverly plotted mystery from Greene (1846 1935) introduces Amelia Butterworth, an elderly spinster "of Colonial ancestry and no inconsiderable importance in the social world," who lives alone in Manhattan's exclusive Gramercy Park neighborhood. One night, she's awakened by the sound of a horse-drawn cab pulling up outside the mansion next door. A man and a woman alight and enter the house, which Miss Butterworth knows to be empty. Ten minutes later, the man leaves. She subsequently summons the police, who investigate and find the body of a woman lying crushed beneath "a fallen piece of furniture." Det. Ebenezer Gryce arrives, and the competition begins: who will solve the murder first? Much of the book's enjoyment stems from Miss Butterworth's spirited discussions with the 77-year-old Gryce and her seeming lack of self-awareness. She describes herself as "not an inquisitive woman" and having a "dignified deportment," while those around her see her as pushy and nosy. This inaugural volume in the Library of Congress Crime Classics series, featuring the first woman sleuth in a series, is a must for genre buffs. Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the book's title.