How fantastic to always be learning! Did you know that Anna Katherine Green of Brooklyn, New York, was the “Mother of the Detective Novel”? Me either! But I chanced to read her “ The Forsaken Inn,” a brisk gothic tale complete with a secret chamber and an ominous trunk.
Green’s work pre-dates that of both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. And her meddlesome lady, Amelia Butterworth, was the prototype for Miss Marple and a whole host of nosy and knowledgeable women who get to the bottom of dastardly deeds.
As a kid I devoured Trixie Belden and Encyclopedia Brown. As a twenty-something, I watched every Miss Marple and Poirot to be watched. But I have certainly had a dearth of detective fiction in my life since then. So, this was a fine way to get going again and how wonderful that Green wrote in the late 1800s and early 1900s – my favorite era of fiction.
Of course, our friends in Britain will be way ahead of me on this because Green’s Violet Strange – the first “girl detective” – made an appearance in BBC Radio 4’s “The Rivals.”
Apparently, Green’s mysteries set all kinds of conventions still employed by fictional sleuths today and she was known for being very particular about getting legal details correct. I can’t understand why I’d never heard of her before. I am probably just last to the party and everyone else has read everything she wrote.
I must go catch up!
I found “The Forsaken Inn” by accident on Project Gutenberg which now has a fab reading app for Apple devices and Android called “Gutenberg Books.” That way I can keep all of my Project Gutenberg books in one app! How lovely.
Free on Kindle, too.
Or you can also buy a used paper copy that you can hold in your hands at abebooks.com for a cheap and cheerful price. I saw a first edition in somewhat poor shape for about $18, but tons of paperback reading copies for $8 and up.