The classic genre-defining whodunit, by the mother of the detective novel
Introducing the first American series detective, Ebenezer Gryce, The Leavenworth Case was published nine years before the debut of Sherlock Holmes, and made author Anna Katharine Green an enormously popular and influential writer who changed the mystery genre forever. Showcasing Green's verve and style, The Leavenworth Case opens with the shocking murder of Horatio Leavenworth, a wealthy New York merchant, philanthropist, and well-known member of the community. His favorite niece, Mary, is to inherit his fortune, and all of the evidence seems to implicate her or her sister. Yet surprises greet Gryce at every turn-even before the second murder.
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First published in 1878, nine years before the debut of Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet, this atmospheric and suspenseful mystery well deserves a modern audience. When someone shoots Horatio Leavenworth, a wealthy retired merchant, through the head in his library late one night, the evidence at the inquest indicates that no one could have left the victim's locked Manhattan mansion before the discovery of the body the next morning. Suspicion thus falls on members of the household, specifically the dead man's nieces, Mary and Eleanore, only one of whom stands to benefit from their uncle's death. Everett Raymond, a junior partner in a New York law firm that had Leavenworth as a client, teams with unassuming official investigator Ebenezer Gryce to seek the truth. Green (1846 1935), whose smooth prose remains fresh, makes Gryce an interesting enough character to leave fans of traditional whodunits eager to see more of the detective in reissues of his further exploits.