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The Woman in the Alcove (Caleb Sweetwater #2)

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
1906. An American detective-story writer, Green's many thrillers were characterized by logical construction and a knowledge of criminal law. The book begins: I was perhaps, the plainest girl in the room that night. I was also the happiest-up to one o'clock. Then my whole world crumbled, or, at least, suffered an eclipse. Why and how, I am about to relate. I was not made ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1906)
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Jul 16, 2013 Jane rated it liked it
“I was, perhaps, the plainest girl in the room that night. I was also the happiest—up to one o’clock. Then my whole world crumbled, or, at least, suffered an eclipse. Why and how, I am about to relate.”

Could you resist an opening like that? I couldn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t, because it pulled me into a fine mystery dating back to 1905.

Miss Van Arsdale was an orphan, who lived with her uncle on the lower steps of New York society. She was aware that, given her age, given her circumstances, given
I am the 5th person on Goodreads to review this book. Score!

To tell the truth, I wouldn't have picked this up, ever, if it wasn't for my English professor suggesting I read it. It's a fun, vintage mystery (published in 1903, hence my placing it on my History shelf) that's full of fancy rich people and nice old-fashioned misogyny.

Our sleuth is Rita, an upper-class young woman who starts the book by assuring us that she is fugly as hell and undeserving of anyone's love, especially the hottie-hot
Oct 28, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
A forerunner of the classic English mystery genre, The Woman in the Alcove was written by an American in 1905. Miss Van Arsdale, short and plain, is a member of the lower echelon of New York's high society, and has recently resigned her self to a life as a spinster nurse. As the story opens, she is attending a grand party at the Ramsdells' mansion, and is swept off her feet by Anson Durand, who proposes marriage. But the star of the evening is not a person; it is the spectacular diamond worn by ...more
V. Gingerich
Jun 15, 2012 V. Gingerich rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, mystery
A very old fashioned mystery, with a heroine who actually did very little detective work. It reminded me of how I would solve a mystery, if I ever did so: eavesdropping, sneaking through hallways, reading other people's letters, and bumbling the whole process a good share of the time.

I was perhaps, the plainest girl in the room that night. I was also the happiest-up to one o'clock. Then my whole world crumbled, or, at least, suffered an eclipse. Why and how, I am about to relate. I was not made
There are two aspects to every audiobook - the story and the narrator. In this case, this is even more pronounced as the book is a classic, available via creative commons. So I'll talk about the book first and the performance afterwards.

The story itself was interesting, but it was very convoluted. In typical early twentieth century fashion, the prose was purple (to say the least). I am sure it is because people had a lot more time then, but it was so frustrating to have to listen to a whole para
May 28, 2016 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The author, Anna Katharine Green, lived from (1846-1935),
which means that this story was written a long time ago.
There were certain words and phrases that we just don't use anymore which made the story difficult to understand at times.
I found myself re-reading a couple of passages to make sure that I wasn't missing anything.
The word "ejaculation" was used several times and
the meaning was no where near what the word means in today's language,
for example:
"So I endeavored to do as he bade me, and
Jun 01, 2011 Victoria rated it really liked it
It was a pretty good book. Definitly a product of it's time; but I don't mean that in a bad way. For instance people speak of "having a feeling" to open a letter first when I would call it commen sense. Let's say you are on a "mission" and at a point of no return. You see a letter addressed to you from the person who gave you your "assignment" marked urgent. Do you read it before making this last act that may give you away and certainly cause some sort of reaction/repecussion? Of course you do. ...more
Jun 08, 2012 Lorena rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Interesting as a product of its time and as one of the early American mysteries. Lots of melodrama, lots of improbable and implausible shenanigans leading to the solution, but fun if you are a fan of the genre. Notable for having a female protagonist/amateur detective, also, although I would have to say that I preferred the Golden Slipper stories with Violet Strange to this, all else being equal.
Sep 29, 2011 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This mystery starts out with the heroine, Rita Van Ardsdale, falling head over heels in love with Anson Durand (very cheesy romance). But, fortunately, after the first few chapters, her true love disappears from the book after being hauled off to jail on suspicion of murder and theft. Rita Van Arsdale makes it her mission to clear his name and find the true murderer. The overall cheesiness was rather entertaining, but leaves you underwhelmed. Anna Katharine Green has yet to impress me.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read
to find
Manybooks (hattip Wanda):

spotted on jane's update
Feb 14, 2012 Ld rated it it was ok
Shelves: librivox
Started out very promising and then lost it's way at the finale. Would have given higher rating if the ending didn't seem rushed and convenient. I will still try another one by this author, though.
Aug 01, 2014 Elaine rated it really liked it
Vintage mystery set in the New York of Edith Wharton. Good story with a strong beginning, though it gets a bit wordy at the end. I've also read "That Affair Next Door" and liked it much better.
Feb 11, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
Written in 1905, the author is said to have inspired Agatha Christie and other mystery writers. Starts out interesting enough, but the conclusion gets somewhat complicated.
Clarissa Draper
Jun 25, 2012 Clarissa Draper rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-mysteries
This is a vintage mystery (1906) and it's pretty good. It has twist and turns and I'm surprised more people haven't heard of it.

My Kindle version had illustrations and that was cool.

Jul 23, 2010 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery -- author provides good characters, an intriguing plot, and I did not know who the "bad guy" was -- important to me when I read mysteries.
Jul 31, 2012 Angie rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
I had a really hard time with this book. I didn't like it at all. I don't know why I made myself finish it.
Jill rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2013
Tina rated it it was amazing
Dec 20, 2007
Vani rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2013
Jane rated it liked it
Nov 09, 2011
Sara rated it liked it
Oct 20, 2014
Myrna rated it it was ok
Aug 06, 2011
Linda rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2014
Michelle rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2012
April rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2010
Christy Parker
Christy Parker rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2012
Renee Attilio
Renee Attilio rated it liked it
Jul 21, 2016
jaybee rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2014
Feb 20, 2015 Tracey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2-star
One and a half stars, maybe? I may get crankier later and round it down. It wasn't good.
Sharon Fisher
Sharon Fisher rated it it was amazing
Nov 18, 2014
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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...

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