The Leavenworth Case  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Leavenworth Case (1878), subtitled A Lawyer's Story, is an American detective novel and the first novel by Anna Katharine Green. Set in New York City, it concerns the murder of a retired merchant, Horatio Leavenworth, in his New York mansion. The popular novel introduced the detective Ebenezer Gryce, and was influential in the development of the detective novel. In her autobiography, Agatha Christie cited it as an influence on her own fiction.

Plot Summary

The novel begins when a wealthy retired merchant named Horatio Leavenworth is shot and killed in his library. When investigator Ebenezer Gryce and lawyer Everett Raymond look into the case, it is revealed that no one could have left the Manhattan Mansion before the body was discovered the next day. As the story progresses, Leavenworth’s orphaned cousins Mary and Eleanore, Hannah the maid, and a mysterious gentleman who appears on the scene all factor into the investigation.

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