Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Green...Review

The Leavenworth Case

Anna Katherine Green

Copyright 1878

This detective novel by Anna Katherine Green was full of twists and turns. I heard about this author through a literature class I took a couple of months ago. The author is known as "The Mother of the Detective Novel", as she was one of the first to write a novel in the detective style. Her writing inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, and also the popular books of Agatha Christie. Green has many stories and novels that she wrote in her lifetime that are a pleasure for most detective novel enthusiasts.
     It 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.
     This story was interesting from the start, Green wastes no time plunging directly into the mystery that the novel surrounds. Having said this though, I have to also say that this book was not all that enjoyable to me. There were things I liked about it, it was well written and plotted, I was unsure who the murderer was all the way to the end, and I loved the wit that Green added into her characters personalities and dialogue. As I like old English writing and ways of speaking I enjoyed the text very much.
     Yet, the story fell a little flat for me. I am not a detective novel fan, therefore it took me much longer to read this book than it should have as I had to make myself keep reading. I do not like the way that the main character in most detective writing talks to the reader. - What do we have here? So what am I to think of this evidence? You can see my confusion when I got this bit of information. etc. etc. - Sometimes I fancy I can actually here the "Dun, Dun, Dun!" you would hear from the mood music, and see the close up of the detectives face you would see from the screen in a detective movie. It takes me out of the story a bit, I feel like I am not a part of it but more a bystander being fed information. A bit like sitting in on a trial. Green's father was a trial lawyer and she learned a lot about cases and law because of him, that may account for this perspective. I would say this novel is a classic "Who done it".
     As I said though, many detective novel fans love her books and I can see why. If that were the type of story telling that I enjoyed, I think I would have found this to be a favorite. I did like her characters, and was happy with the ending that she provided. All the loose ends were tied up, and the ending seemed plausible. If the detective novel is a favorite genre for you I say read this! I think you would really like it. If you don't find that genre particularly enjoyable, my advice would be to skip it.



  1. Based on your recommendation I have now read two. I enjoyed them both. Thanks for the review. I had never heard of her.