Anna Katharine Green was the most famous and prolific writer of detective fiction in the United States prior to Dashiell Hammett. Her first novel, The Leavenworth Case, was the bestseller of 1878. Green is credited with a number of "firsts" within the mystery genre: she developed the tropes of the gentleman murdered as he makes out his will, and the icicle as murder weapon. She created the first female detectives in American fiction. Her amateur spinster sleuth, Amelia Butterworth, became the prototype for numerous women detectives to follow including Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Nosy, opinionated, and tenacious, Amelia Butterworth engages in a sustained rivalry with Ebenezer Gryce, a police detective. In the interaction between these characters, Green developed two more conventions adopted by future generations of mystery writers: the investigation as battle between the sexes and between the professional and the unexpectedly sharp, observant amateur. This volume presents two of Green's Amelia Butterworth tales out of print for the past one hundred years: That Affair Next Door (1897) and Lost Man's Lane (1898).
In That Affair Next Door a woman is found with her face crushed beyond recognition in the Gramercy Park townhouse of the Van Burnams, a prominent New York merchant family. Amelia Butterworth unravels the social climbing and instances of mistaken identity at the heart of the case. Lost Man's Lane follows Amelia Butterworth to a dilapidated mansion in New York State. She has been asked to investigate a series of disappearances around the reportedly haunted house. Before arriving at the truth, Butterworth encounters more strange occurrences: a midnight burial, imprisonments, secret staircases, and a ghostly carriage.
Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was a well-reviewed and commercially successful author of detective novels. She wrote thirty-four novels and four collections of stories.Catherine Ross Nickerson is Associate Professor of English at Emory University. She is the author of "The Web of Iniquity: Early Detective Fiction by American Women, " also published by Duke University Press.
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