Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green

book cover
The Leavenworth Case
by Anna Katharine Green

ISBN-13: 9780486823508
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications
Released: April 18. 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Horatio Leavenworth, a wealthy merchant and pillar of nineteenth-century New York society, has been found shot to death in his Fifth Avenue mansion. Circumstances point to a member of his household as the killer and particularly to his lovely nieces, one of whom will inherit his fortune. The idea of a lady murderer, especially one of the Leavenworths' social stature, is almost too shocking to entertain, although the evidence — a broken key, an incriminating letter, and an overheard snatch of conversation — points toward the young nieces. But which one?

This brilliantly plotted tale of love, greed, sacrifice, and betrayal introduced the first American series detective, Ebenezer Gryce, and is widely considered the first full-length detective story written by a woman. The suspenseful bestseller is credited with attracting writers to a genre previously considered unworthy of serious literary attention. It remains not only a fascinating whodunit but also an absorbing look at nineteenth-century mores and manners.

My Review:
The Leavenworth Case is a mystery set in New York City that was first published in 1878. A rich man is found murdered in a locked library, and a niece who will inherit little is caught destroying evidence along with the key to the library. The clues soon point suspicion instead toward someone who has much more to gain from the death, but did that person commit the murder or get someone else to do it?

While I initially correctly guessed whodunit, the clues pointed first here and then there, so I was no longer certain about who did it until the confession at the end. The main character was a gentleman in whom the ladies and others trusted and confided. He helped the official detective to gather clues, but the detective was the one to provoke the confession.

The characters were interesting and a product of their time, but they weren't highly developed. There was no sex or bad language (beyond a few exclamations referring to God by people who believed in God). Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and complex mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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