That Affair Next Door

That Affair Next Door

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(3 Reviews)
That Affair Next Door by Anna Katharine Green

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1897

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0

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That Affair Next Door

By

4.3333333333333
(3 Reviews)
"The success of 'That Affair Next Door,' Anna Katharine Green's latest novel, is something almost unprecedented. Of all the tales since 'The Leavenworth Case,' this has had the greatest vogue--which is saying considerable, for Mrs. Rohlfs enjoys the distinction of being one of the most widely read authors in this country. 'That Affair Next Door,' with its startling ingenuity, its sustained interest and its wonderful plot, shows that the author's hand has not lost its cunning, but has gained as the years go by."--Buffalo Inquirer.

Book Excerpt

himself; for the Coroner, if you know what that means."

"But what if she's alive! Those things will crush her. Let us take them off. I'll help. I'm not too weak to help."

"Do you know who this person is?" I asked, for her voice had more feeling in it than I thought natural to the occasion, dreadful as it was.

"I?" she repeated, her weak eyelids quivering for a moment as she tried to sustain my scrutiny. "How should I know? I came in with the policeman and haven't been any nearer than I now be. What makes you think I know anything about her? I'm only the scrub-woman, and don't even know the names of the family."

"I thought you seemed so very anxious," I explained, suspicious of her suspiciousness, which was of so sly and emphatic a character that it changed her whole bearing from one of fear to one of cunning in a moment.

"And who wouldn't feel the like of that for a poor creature lying crushed under a heap of broken crockery!"

Crockery! those Japanese vases worth hun

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Miss Amelia Butterworth (who was christened Araminta but feels that too weak and sentimental a name for a woman of her), a 50-something spinster, looks out her window at midnight and sees a man and a woman enter the darkened house of her vacationing next door neighbors. Though — she says — she is not an inquisitive woman, she continues to watch and sees the man leave alone. When the house is still dark the next day, she summons a policeman, and they find the body of an unknown woman. Discovering who she is and who killed her puts the purposeful Miss Butterworth in competition with Detective Ebenezer Gryce, still sleuthing at 77. The solution is surprising and the characterization excellent. It's nice to see protagonists of these ages. The bizarre behavior of one of the suspects had me shaking my head — it's explained, but not well — but beyond that, it's a fine mystery.
Anna Katharine Green sets the template for mystery writers that followed her. The Affair Next Door is a first class story with twists and turns and enduring characters that mirror Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.
Good mystery. This is not the kind of detective novel in which every clue is presented to the reader, but still the final twist was surprising. The narrative of Miss Butterworth, an amateur dective, is delightful, and her battle with her rival, Mr Gryce, entertaining, the scene of inquest impressive.