The Leavenworth Case

A Lawyers Story

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Published: 1878
Language: English
Wordcount: 108,398 / 310 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 47.4
LoC Category: PS
Series: Mr. Gryce
Downloads: 3,468 3002

A story of mystery and crime and is here narrated with an artistic skill which inevitably holds the interest of the reader, even to the point of the highest tension, to the close of the last chapter. A real marvel of fiction! (Green's first mystery novel.)

Show Excerpt

e house. As it was, I could not rid myself of the idea that one, if not both, of Mr. Leavenworth's nieces looked down upon me from the eyes of this entrancing blonde with the beckoning glance and forbidding hand. So vividly did this fancy impress me that I half shuddered as I looked, wondering if this sweet creature did not know what had occurred in this house since the happy yesterday; and if so, how she could stand there smiling so invitingly,--when suddenly I became aware that I had been watching the little crowd of men about me with as complete an absorption as if nothing else in the room had attracted my attention; that the face of the coroner, sternly intelligent and attentive, was as distinctly imprinted upon my mind as that of this lovely picture, or the clearer-cut and more noble features of the sculptured Psyche, shining in mellow beauty from the crimson-hung window at his right; yes, even that the various countenances of the jurymen clustered before me, commonplace and insignificant as most of them


Average Rating of 3.5 from 4 reviews: ****
Michael O Brien

A recent review in the British newspaper The Independent said :
"Green’s novel, which involves a case of wrongful suspicion in a murder, was highly regarded for its insight into legal procedure, and was used at Yale as an example of the dangers of relying on circumstantial evidence. But it also conforms to the demands of Victorian popular fiction, complete with over-ripe exclamations, red herrings, sinister strangers, lost keys and torn-up letters. What differentiates it from British equivalents is its snappy pacing."


As her first published mystery this wasn't a bad read at all. Like some others I get a tad annoyed when a main character isn't logical or thinking. I also find that sometimes a character can remember word for word, conversations and circumstances that a seasoned reporter would have difficulty with. But I have to remind myself that the era in which the story is set did not have the luxuries we all take for granted. Things like education and experience, voting, and it can be difficult for readers (myself included) to understand women who never enjoyed the freedom from social disdain that we do now. Even the clothing was stifling and life restricting for both sexes.
Anna K Green's work improved as time went on. I've enjoyed most of her books but always look to see what year it was written. I'm in awe at how much she's written and surmise it was all hand written at the time. An amazing writer and one any aspiring writer should read.

Leah A. Zeldes

A long and complex "locked room" mystery. There's a bit too much disbelief that a beautiful woman could do murder, and some sections move very slowly, but it's not a bad read.


The was the first of Green's mystery novels to be published and it was quite popular in it's day. It only holds up fairly well. The early chapters depict an old fashioned coroner's inquest, held in the home of the deceased. The book is about the dangers of circumstantial evidence, as the investigation seems to point one way, then another, only to have the real truth turn out to be something else. I thought the romance was rather unsatisfying. Some readers may find this to be a little overly long. But, I found that it held my interest all the way through. It's a very good first effort for Anna Katharine Green, and an introduction to her series character, Mr. Gryce.

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