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The Leavenworth Case (Mr. Gryce #1)

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  531 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Horatio Leavenworth, Esq., a millionaire, is murdered in his library while he is engaged in reviewing a book he plans to publish. He was shot cleanly in the back of the head (with his own pistol), meaning that he did not turn his head when his assassin entered the room. This fact led detective Ebenezer Gryce to conclude that he recognized the footsteps of his assailant and ...more
Paperback, 439 pages
Published November 30th 2005 by Adamant Media Corporation (first published 1878)
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This was a super-excellent mystery, and I am awed by its existence. Author Green wrote and published this nearly a decade before Sherlock Holmes entered the world, and many of the conventions of the genre are present in this book. Green also throws in diagrams, codes, and passages written from alternate perspectives, complete with a shift in the tone of the prose. I am amazed that this is the kind of "sensationalist" reading that the public could pick up in the late-19th century. People probably ...more
THE LEAVENWORTH CASE. (1878). Anna Katherine Green. ****.
The things we don’t know...When asked, “Who was the father of the American mystery story?” we would immediately answer, “Poe.” Now, “Who was the mother of the American mystery story?” would leave us (at least me) scratching our heads. Turns out that the first woman to write (and create) this genre was Anna Katherine Green (1846-1938). I came across this novel, her first, in a Penguin Classic edition. It featured what was to become a serie

The beginning was exceedingly promising:

“I had been a junior partner in the firm of Veeley, Carr & Raymond, attorneys and counselors at law, for about a year, when one morning, in the temporary absence of both Mr. Veeley and Mr. Carr, there came into our office a young man whose whole appearance was so indicative of haste and agitation that I voluntarily rose as he approached, and advanced to meet him.”

Mr. Raymond was told that Mr. Horatio Leavenworth, a long-standing client of his firm, had
If you'd like to read this, it's in the public domain here. It was mentioned (the new Penguin edition) on NPR as a book worth reading, and it is. In the same way that, say, Citizen Kane is a movie worth watching--you have to keep reminding yourself that it's not Green/Welles who are using the clichés, but rather they're inventing them.

Aside from her massive contribution to mystery writing in the form of the "series detective", I'd say there's not much here to see if you're not a mystery person
The Leavenworth Case, 1878, by Anna Katharine Greene.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Green had an early ambition to write romantic verse, and she corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson. When her poetry failed to gain recognition, she produced her first and best known novel, The Leavenworth Case (1878), praised by Wilkie Collins, and the hit of the year. She became a bestselling author, eventually publishing about 40 books.

She is credited with shaping detective fiction into its classic form, and devel
I loved The Leavenworth Case; it was a really good mystery by the "mother of the detective novel." It is one of the first American mysteries, published nine years before Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Leavenworth, the wealthy client of Veeley, Carr, & Raymond, is mysteriously murdered in his library, with (seemingly) very few clues to go on. Everything seems to indicate Mary, his favorite niece and heiress, or her cousin Eleanore. But everything is more complicated than it seems...and that's before th ...more
Although I'd heard of this book as possibly the first detective novel written by a woman, I was a long time getting around to reading it. So glad I did! It was one of the first best-selling American novels with good reason. I was a bit ambilvalent in the beginning as to whether or not I would go on to read more of her books, but as the story progressed it became harder and harder to put down, so yes, I hope to make time in the future for more of Green's books. There are about a dozen novels in t ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
A rather interesting classic mystery encompassing the likes of guns, millionaires, beautiful young women, obsessed and unusual secretaries, detectives, and inheritance, etc, etc, and all that... Here, a millionaire by the name of Horatio Leavenworth, Esq. is found murdered, a young lawyer decides to get involved in the case, and the range of events that transpires thereafter makes it quite difficult to solve the mystery...
Susan Jo Grassi
What a great read. It started out a little slowly but picked up and held my interest until the very end. I have wanted to read this book for a long time and was thrilled when I was able to get it on my Kindle. This is one of the first books written using a private detective. It was written in 1876 but did not appear dated at all. I love historical mysteries so this had the added benefit of being true to life.
Athul Raj
This is one of the earliest works in detective/ mystery fiction genre. The technique, modus operandi and motive given in this story has been used in many works since. So, an avid mystery fiction reader may find it a bit ordinary. But considering it's year of publication, this one is truly a good one, which I liked and was unable to guess the culprit till the final revelation.
I only made it about 2/3 of the way through this book before I got bogged down by the extremely slow-moving plot. Unfortunately. I realize the literary importance of this book in the detective genre, but it just didn't capture my attention. Then again, I'm not a dedicated fan of detective novels anyway.
Brenda Mengeling
First two-thirds of the story were promising. But the resolution and ending were highly contrived and melodramatic.
I appreciate that Anna Katharine Green is considered the mother of the modern detective novel and I wanted to delve into this, her first Ebenezer Gryce novel. And although I enjoyed the early going, eventually, all the melodramatic posturing got to be too much for me:
It was the final wrench of the rack. With a yell such as I never thought to listen to from the lips of a man, he flung up his arms, while all the lurid light of madness glared on his face. "And I have given my soul to hell for a sha
Think of classic detectives and you immediately think of Sherlock Holmes but this story, written in 1878, predated him by a good ten years and was even a best-seller back then, not an unknown work. Ms Green is considered the mother of the detective novel and is renowned for being legally accurate. Agatha Christie agrees that she influenced her. According to Wikipedia, The Leavenworth Case: A Lawyer's Story, sparked a debate in the Pennsylvania Senate over whether the book could "really have been ...more
I only became aware of Librivox a few months ago, and can't say that I've enjoyed the narration of the books that much. In the case of The Leavenworth Case, however, I thought it was very well narrated by Kirsten Ferreri. Ferreri's diction and expression were of a very good quality, and this is, so far, the best narration that I've heard from a Librivox recording.

The book itself was good, too. I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book, but I felt that the story sort of lost steam and got
My ratings mostly represent, simply how much I was entertained by a book. I am not a literary critic, nor do I aspire to be one. I just love to read!

I read his book because I was invited to join a murder mystery book club. I would never have chosen this on my own. I'm not a stranger to classics or murder mysteries. I just don't think I would have found this on my own.

I am glad I read it for its historical significance and contribution to it the genre. But I was NOT that entertained. I hated the
“Mr. Leavenworth is dead. . . . murdered; shot through the head by some unknown person while sitting at his library table.” Thus begins a mystery novel once sensationally popular and now, mystifyingly, almost completely unknown.

The Leavenworth Case (1878) by Anna Katharine Green is a milestone of the genre. Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie admired it. Yale Law School, among others, assigned it to its students to demonstrate the snares associated with circumstantial evidenc
The Leavenworth Case has many of the hallmarks of a modern mystery novel (and having just read The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen I was surprised by similarities of the initial crime). There's the dramatic murder, the inquest, the evidence leading the lesser detectives and reader down the wrong path. There is also a scene where Mr. Gryce uses classic Poirot tactics to gain the confession from the killer. Except, of course, that Poirot is using the original's. Many of the features in ...more
Bev Hankins
The Leavenworth Case was written by Anna Katharine Green and originally published in 1878--nine years before Doyle's A Study in Scarlet. It is often considered the first full-length detective story written by a woman. It was an enormous success with the public, reportedly selling more than 750,000 copies in its first decade and a half, and, for nearly half a century, Anna Katharine Green was one of America's most popular authors. She wrote many other novels, but what reputation she has today res ...more
The Leavenworth Case (1878) is the first mystery novel by Anna Katherine Green. It is definitely a detective story. It's told in first person from the point of view of a young man (a lawyer) who becomes fascinated in a murder case. He's on the scene, supposedly, to comfort the grieved nieces (Mary, Eleanore) of the victim, Horatio Leavenworth. The details of the crime are reviewed and presented early in the novel. One of the ladies becomes the main suspect in the murder, but the narrator feels c ...more
A long-overlooked gem, The Leavenworth Case is a Victorian era mystery that was actually published in 1878. Now newly reissued, modern readers have the chance to enjoy the enigmatic characters and the steady piecing of clues in a classic mystery.

I confess I do balk at the publisher's label of Green as "the mother of the detective novel" who "changed the mystery genre forever" and of its touting of the "first American series detective...published nine years before the debut of Sherlock Holmes". I
Linda K
As a fan of Agatha Christie, and knowing that this was one of her favorite mysteries, I chose to read it.

Beginning with the murder of their uncle, the story centers on the two nieces who lived with him and their possible connection as suspects. Only one of them is the heiress to his fortune which makes her the logical choice. Set in New York around the early 1900's, the book is tightly written to reflect the manners and proprieities of the time, giving the reading delightful prose for thought.

Abhijit Chatterjee
If we are to take into account that it is one of the first texts in the crime fiction genre, then its a good read. Otherwise its pretty mediocre in the genre. The detective does not feature prominently in the novel until the last part and the motive of the crime is, in a broader sense, pretty weak. But the book has got few ingenious deductions which are praise-worthy, hence making it a pre-cursor of the Sherlock Holmes canon.
Sherill Leonardi
A classic for fans of the "locked room" mystery genre. With it's solid plot line and distinctive characters, Anna Katherine Green's The Leavenworth Case" sets a high standard for early detective fiction. Published in 1878, "Leavenworth" was the forerunner to Agatha Christie's Poirot.
I think this book is a must-read for anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes or any other Victorian era style mystery. Wonderful tone, pace, writing style and a good mystery to boot. My one criticism of the solution to the mystery itself is
(view spoiler)
Rebecca Fieler
Years ago I found a book called WOMEN OF MYSTERY that was essentially a group biography of female mystery writers, but I hadn't really explored any of the authors besides the big names that everyone knows. Growing up in a family where our Sunday evenings were spent watching MURDER SHE WROTE, I thought it was time to test a few of them out. Anna Katherine Green was one of the original authors of the serial detective novel, which opened up the way for writers like Rex Stout and Elizabeth George (w ...more
Richard Ward
According to Wikipedia, this is Anna Katherine Green's first novel, published when she was 32. I have read several of her novels and this one falls far short of the quality that I am used to seeing in her. The plot, including the puzzle of whodunit; and sub-plots; and characters major and minor, including the detective and the killer, all mostly disappoint, but only when compared to her later books. Taken alone, this book still ain't bad. If you are new to Anna Katherine Green, begin by reading ...more
I just couldn't get into this one. The actions and attitudes of the charecters aren't really believable to me. I know she is supposed to be a wonderful writer, espically for her time, but it didn't work for me. I may try one more book by this author to give it a fair chance. I will say it was clean and unoffensive in any moral way. (Considering there was murder, of course!)

I am currently re-reading this book for my bookclub. I have "given in" to the flowery, over dramatic, style of writing of th
Starts slow, and the 19th century sentimentality about women is pretty cloying, but as soon as the second death occurs, things pick up. Early portrayal of what has become standard: the professional detective aided by a gifted amateur of higher social position, but Detective Gryce is no hack.
This is the first book I read by this author. I am amazed that Anna Katharine Green wrote these books in the 1800's. I am very grateful that her poetry writing was so unsucessful that she started writing mysteries. Poetry's loss is my gain! Happy Reading!
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Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was an American poet and novelist. She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories (no doubt assisted by her lawyer father). Born in Brooklyn, New York, her early ambition was to write romantic verse, and she corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson. When her poetry failed to ...more
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