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The Leavenworth Case (Mr. Gryce #1)

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  856 Ratings  ·  129 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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Community Reviews

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Dec 26, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
♪ Kim
Dec 31, 2015 ♪ Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1878, The Leavenworth Case is a classic murder mystery written by Anna Katharine Green. Green is credited with developing the modern detective genre with her series featuring NY police detective Ebenezer Gryce. This book is the first of the series and the best known. It has the feel of The Moonstone in its language, formality, and story complicated by Victorian manners and sensibilities. It's also a well-constructed mystery that features many of the devices we've come to recognize - ...more
Dec 31, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it
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
Dec 13, 2015 ☯Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of detective stories
Anna Katharine Green was one of the originators of the detective story. Her detective, Mr. Gryce, was created nine years before Sherlock Holmes came on the scene. Ms. Green was an influence on Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle.

The story is fast paced with several improbable events. It is enjoyable to read an early detective story written by an American, since the most well-known authors are English.

A brief synopsis: Uncle is killed. Uncle's heir is one of his nieces. At first, it looks like the ni
Sara Steger
Dec 12, 2015 Sara Steger rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A very fun, old-time mystery/detective novel, much in the vein of Wilkie Collins (though not quite as well done). I had solved the mystery of who-done-it and why about half way in, but that did not keep me from wanting to finish the story and see all the loose ends tied up.

In the flavor of books of this era, it is a bit too neatly tied up and unrealistic by modern day standards. It is always important to think about these books in reference to the time in which they were written and without the
Feb 25, 2013 Jane rated it liked it

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
Sep 22, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, fiction
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
Jan 26, 2010 ARNE BUE rated it really liked it
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
Laurel Hicks
Jun 12, 2016 Laurel Hicks rated it really liked it
Well done! An early murder mystery that helped to shape the genre.
Marts  (Thinker)
Mar 02, 2014 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it
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...
Mar 31, 2016 Sally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early Victorian mystery by one of the most successful American writers of her day. The mystery is a good one with lots of twists and turns, and some truly surprising aspects to it. The writing is sort of florid and sometimes a little hard to get into, but the narrative is still very good. The setup is that a rich man with two wards (his nieces) is found murdered in his library. One of the nieces is suspected, although it's the other one who will inherit all the money. Ebenezer Gryce is the de ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Cleo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 03, 2016 Carolien rated it liked it
3.5 stars. The mystery holds up surprisingly well given that it was written in 1878. Detective Gryce is diligent and we are reminded what changes technology has wrought over the past century to assist hard working police officers. The book conjures up New York of the time well and is overall an enjoyable read.
Jul 06, 2012 Dagny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
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
Jul 26, 2016 Gypsi rated it it was amazing
Anna Katharine Green (November 11, 1846 – April 11, 1935) was one of the first Americans to write mysteries that featured a detective, and is also credited with shaping the genre into more legally accurate fiction, as well as inventing both the (new stereotypical) meddling busybody sleuth and girl detective.

The Leavenworth Case (her first novel), is a complex mystery with a well penned and well planned plot. It takes many twists and turns, but none unbelievable or contrived, and arrives at a so
Dec 18, 2015 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was a pretty great mystery story. The author seems to be rather obscure, although I think thanks to this book and a few other things, she's being paid more attention to, which is good, because she seems to be quite talented, not to mention influential. There was some pretty cool stuff in the introduction about how Green influenced Agatha Christie, and detective fiction in general. I can definitely see why this was a best seller in its day. It reminds me of The Moonstone a little, but that's ...more
Laura Bang
I came across Green while cataloguing some books by her and was intrigued by the fact that she seems to be the first woman to have written a detective story and was a bestseller of her time. The Leavenworth Case is her first novel (after an unsuccessful poetry career) and her most famous so I thought I'd start here. A very interesting early detective story, though naturally very tied up in its Victorian time (originally published in 1878). This book introduces Green's recurring detective charact ...more
Susan Jo Grassi
Sep 12, 2012 Susan Jo Grassi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2012 Athul Raj rated it liked it
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.
Apr 21, 2016 Anderson rated it it was ok
This book grabs you from the very beginning when Mr. Raymond learns that a very rich and influential New York merchant, Mr. Horatio Leavenworth, has been murdered. Mr. Leavenworth has two young and beautiful nieces that he is the guardian of, they were in the house during the time of his murder, and are in need of the services of a lawyer. As Mr. Raymond is a lawyer he offers his help, but he soon finds himself swept up in the beauty of the two cousins, and in the middle of a murder mystery.
Brenda Mengeling
Feb 27, 2011 Brenda Mengeling rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries, fiction, 47, ebook
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
Laras Astuti
The story is about the murder of a rich man who had two beautiful nieces who one by one becomes the suspect. The story is narrated by a Mr. Raymond, a lawyer who isn't a family friend, let alone relative, of this family. Raymond sees and meets the two nieces on the day he is called to help them through the inquest.

Now, my main point of dislike of this book is this narrator. He is a sort of man who judges a person, especially a woman, by their appearance (alone). This makes him a repugnant charac
Feb 12, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Anna Katharine Green gets a lot of credit for being the first WOMAN detective novelist, and I say, So? What does gender have to do with her contribution, which I think is considerable, to the mystery genre? And besides, she wasn't the first female to write a mystery. A woman with the pen name Seeley Regester was the author of the dime novel mystery, The Dead Letter (1866) and many to follow. Don't know anything about the latter, but I did enjoy The Leavenworth Case (1878), Green's first in a ser ...more
«Non leggere Il caso Leavenworth equivale a perdere un documento di vitale importanza storica nel suo campo, nonché a privarsi di un’avvincente e affascinante esperienza letteraria»

Il caso Leavenworth (1878) non è un giallo qualunque, ma il primo esempio noto di detective story, definizione coniata dalla sua stessa autrice americana, Anna Katharine Green, ben nove anni prima dell'uscita di Uno studio in rosso (1887), il primo caso del famoso Sherlock Holmes dell'inglese Conan Doyle.
Prima della
Jun 18, 2014 A.M. rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own, e-books
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
Feb 24, 2012 Jodi rated it it was ok
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
Apr 11, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
“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
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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. 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 gain recognition, she produced her first ...more
More about Anna Katharine Green...

Other Books in the Series

Mr. Gryce (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • A Strange Disappearance
  • The Sword of Damocles: A Story of New York Life
  • Hand and Ring
  • Behind Closed Doors
  • A Matter of Millions; A Novel
  • The Doctor, His Wife, and the Clock
  • That Affair Next Door
  • Lost Man's Lane: A Second Episode in the Life of Amelia Butterworth
  • The Circular Study (Mr. Gryce #10)
  • One of My Sons

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