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The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green | Caleb Carr & The Alienist Books | 17th Street

Sadly, all these innovations are buried in a melodramatic story told in a typically Victorian bombastic style. Eleanor Leavenworth's pledge at Chapter 12 is one of the most hilarious passages I read in my lifetime, though it was obviously intended to be highly moving and edifying.

His employer has been found murdered in his locked library, the inquest is that morning, and Harwell has come to ask Mr Veeley, a personal friend of the deceased, to advise orphaned cousins Mary and Eleanore Mr Leavenworth's nieces during proceedings. Mr Veeley however is away so Raymond undertakes the task. The case is particularly mystifying since there is no sign of forced entry, the house was bolted as tightly shut as it had been the night before, nothing was stolen -- but lady's maid Hannah Chester has gone missing, leaving behind her clothing and savings.

The inquest is in Mr Leavenworth's home, and detective Ebenezer Gryce is already there when Raymond arrives. Gryce and Raymond overhear the cousins at loggerheads, and one subsequently refuses to answer certain questions put to her during the inquest. Damning evidence is given and grave suspicion is thrown on one cousin.

Even so, could Hannah have had a hand in the murder or is there a darker reason for her disappearance? Where is the missing key to the library? What secret are the cousins hiding, and can it be related to the murder of their uncle and benefactor?

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My verdict: Untangling the case involves Raymond in a wide ranging investigation and Gryce takes a lesser role -- or so it seems at first glance. Tracing the required information takes intelligent work aided by a dash of good fortune.

The solution hangs together well although ultimately the revelation of who was responsible for the murder and the motive is somewhat overwrought so with regret I must say is not the best Gryce adventure of the admittedly small sample of two so far read. Tip: To turn text into a link, highlight the text, then click on a page or file from the list above. The Leavenworth Case.

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The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green

Nevertheless, The Leavenworth Case , overflowing with detection wizardry the world had never seen before, is a fascinating read that no detective story devotee should miss. I read this over the summer and although it has lighthearted moments, it is weighed down a bit by the vernacular of the time period. The proper Miss Leavenworth is used for more than one character; a bit confusing at times.

All in all, I would recommend it. I recently discovered Anna Katherine Green and have read some of her short stories. Thanks for letting us know more about her and her work.

The Leavenworth Case

Sounds interesting. Click on the link to see one of his chairs on Antiques Roadshow.

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