A Strange Disappearance
A Strange Disappearance by Anna Katherine Green is one of the first mystery novels to ever be published in America. Anna Katherine Green has garnered praise for her detective fiction for its realism and well plotted story. Her stories are also accurate when it comes to depicting legal issues which is thanks to her father who is a lawyer. Her novels have always been one of the foundations of mystery and detective fiction and A Strange Disappearance is one of her finest works.
A Strange Disappearance was published in 1880 and is the second novel in Green’s Mr. Gryce series. In this story, Mr. Gryce assigns Q to investigate the titular disappearance. Q was first introduced during the Leavenworth Case which he successfully solved, although her eccentric and strange behavior might have had more to do with his success. In Strange Disappearance, Q is front and center and is the one narrating the story this time around. The case involves a tailor who is working for the Holman Blake household. Her disappearance left vague clues as to what happened and no traces can be found to tell where she could have left or who took her. Q is one of the most interesting and unique detectives in fiction for his odd actions personality. J.M. Smallheer is able to bring the unusual detective to life with his own brand of peculiar nuance to his voice and performance. A Strange Disappearance is one for the shelf of any detective fiction enthusiast.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Katharine Green (November 11, 1846 – April 11, 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. Green has been called “the mother of the detective novel.”
Green is credited with shaping detective fiction into its classic form, and developing the series detective. Her main character was detective Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Metropolitan Police Force, but in three novels he is assisted by the nosy society spinster Amelia Butterworth, the prototype for Miss Marple, Miss Silver and other creations. She also invented the ‘girl detective:’ in the character of Violet Strange, a debutante with a secret life as a sleuth. Indeed, as journalist Kathy Hickman writes, Green “stamped the mystery genre with the distinctive features that would influence writers from Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle to contemporary authors of suspenseful “whodunits”. In addition to creating elderly spinster and young female sleuths, Green’s innovative plot devices included dead bodies in libraries, newspaper clippings as “clews”, the coroner’s inquest, and expert witnesses. Yale Law School once used her books to demonstrate how damaging it can be to rely on circumstantial evidence. Written in 1878, her first book, The Leavenworth Case: A Lawyer’s Story, sparked a debate in the Pennsylvania State Senate over whether the book could “really have been written by a woman.”
Green was in some ways a progressive woman for her time—succeeding in a genre dominated by male writers—but she did not approve of many of her feminist contemporaries, and she was opposed to women’s suffrage.