Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Short excerpt: The expression of the secretary's eye stopped me. Without seeming to wander from my face its pupil had suddenly dilated till it appeared to embrace my whole person with its scope.
"First published in the United States of America by G. P. Putnam's Sons 1878"--T.p. verso.
About the Author
Michael Sims is the author most recently of In the Womb: Animals (adapted from two National Geographic Channel documentaries); he is also the author of Apollo's Fire: A Journey through the Extraordinary Wonders of an Ordinary Day, which NPR chose as one of the best science books of 2007; Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Library Journal Best Science Book; and Darwin's Orchestra: An Almanac of Nature in History and the Arts. For Penguin Classics he also edited The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel and Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief, and he is currently editing The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime. He has written for many periodicals, from the Washington Post to New Statesman.