"Another triumph with this pioneering crime novel."—Publishers Weekly
The sixth book in the Library of Congress Crime Classics, an exciting new classic mystery series created in exclusive partnership with the Library of Congress. This classic crime fiction mystery features a love triangle with a murderous twist.
An undelivered letter with a cryptic message holds the key to an unsolved murder
When Henry Moreland is found dead on a lonely New York road after a violent storm, it seems he died of natural causes while walking to the home of his betrothed, Eleanor Argyll. An examination of the corpse reveals, however, that he was killed by a single, powerful stab wound. His wallet was untouched, eliminating robbery as the motive—but who would want to murder the well-liked and respected man?
Richard Redfield, an old family friend who harbors a secret love for Eleanor, vows to bring Henry's killer to justice. Richard soon finds himself out of his element. Together with a legendary detective named Mr. Burton, he embarks on an unsuccessful mission to find the murderer. When suspicion turns to Richard himself, he leaves the family behind and goes to work in the "Dead Letter" office in Washington. Then a mysterious letter from the past turns up, and a new hunt begins…
This twisting tale is the first full-length American detective novel, written under a pseudonym by Metta Victor in the 1860s. It revived American crime fiction, which had languished after Edgar Allan Poe's short stories of the 1840s. Combining elements of Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone and the "sensation" novels popular in England, it opened the doors for generations of American crime writers to follow.
The Library of Congress Crime Classics series scores another triumph with this pioneering crime novel originally published in 1866. As editor Leslie Klinger notes, Metta Victor (1831 1885), writing as Regester, "deserves full credit for setting America on the path of crime writing at least as good as that coming out of England." In 1859, Richard Redfield, a clerk in a post office's department dedicated to reviewing undelivered mail, is startled at the contents of a letter signed by "Your disappointed Negotiator," addressed to a John Owen of Peekskill, N.Y. The writer refers to not being able to fulfill Owen's "order," and to an old friend not being able to "tell tales." The date of the missive suggests a link to the unsolved murder of banker Henry Moreland, who was fatally stabbed on his way to visit his fianc e near Peekskill. The new potential clue leads Redfield to seek out the detective who handled the initial inquiries, so the case can be reopened. Fans of Wilkie Collins will feel right at home. More than a literary curiosity, this book merits the new audience it will now receive.