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Detective Gryce, N. Y. P. D.: Volume: 4

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Detective Gryce, N. Y. P. D.: Volume: 4
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Anna Katherine Green
Date Published: 2012/01
Page Count: 596
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-774-6
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-773-9

The significance of author Anna Katherine Green (1846-1935) upon American detective fiction cannot be underestimated. Not only was she among the first writers of the detective story in the United States but in her career she penned over 40 novels and short stories in the genre. She turned her literary attention from writing poetry to crime mysteries and published ‘The Leavenworth Case’ to great acclaim in 1878. Indeed this debut work is still regarded as an enduring classic. Furthermore, while most of us are familiar with the detectives of the New York Police Department as they have appeared in books, films and on television for decades, it was Green who was among the first to focus on the detectives of the NYPD as principal characters and, through her Detective Ebenezer Gryce offer him and the force to the public in series form. In the grand tradition of the sleuth Gryce has a number of ‘sidekicks’ including the nosey socialite, Amelia Butterworth—an embryonic Miss Marple. Green also wrote about another now familiar character type, the ‘girl detective’ in the form of debutante Violet Strange. These tales of the NYPD are set against the colourful world of the city of New York in the last two decades of the 19th century and this provides both the crimes and the characters that occupy these mysteries with an irresistible and unusual old world charm. This special Leonaur edition of the Detective Gryce casebooks comprises six substantial volumes and includes both novels and short stories featuring the famous criminal hunter. This fourth substantial volume includes the ‘The Sword of Damocles’ and ‘Initials Only.’ We believe this six volume collection is the most complete collection of Gryce stories ever gathered together and is therefore an essential addition to the library of any collector of classic American crime fiction.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

Holding up the skirts of their riding-habits in their trembling right hands, they hurried forward. Suddenly they both paused. A woman had crossed their path; a woman whom to look at but once was to remember with ghastly shrinking for a lifetime. She was wrapped in a long and ragged cloak, and her eyes, startling in their blackness, were fixed upon the pain-drawn countenance of the poor little hurt boy behind them, with a gleam whose feverish hatred and deep malignant enjoyment of his very evident sufferings, was like a revelation from the lowest pit to the two innocent-minded girls hastening forward on their errand of mercy.<br>
“Is he much hurt?” gasped the woman in an ineffectual effort to conceal the evil nature of her interest. “Do you think he will die?” with a shrill lingering emphasis on the last word as if she longed to roll it like a sweet morsel under her tongue.<br>
“Who are you?” asked Cicely, shrinking to one side with dilated eyes fixed on the woman’s hardened countenance and the white, too white hand with which she had pointed as she spoke of the child.<br>
“Are you his mother?” queried Paula, paling at the thought but keeping her ground with an air of unconscious authority.<br>
“His mother!” shrieked the woman, hugging herself in her long cloak and laughing with fiendish sarcasm: “I look like his mother, don’t I? His eyes—did you notice his eyes? they are just like mine, aren’t they? and his body, poor weazen little thing, looks as if it had drawn sustenance from mine, don’t it? His mother! O heaven!”<br>
Nothing like the suppressed force of this invocation seething as it was with the worst passions of a depraved human nature, had ever startled those ears before. Clasping Cicely by the hand, she called out to the groom behind them, “Guard that child as you would your life!” and then flashing upon the wretched creature before her with all the force of her aroused nature, she exclaimed, “If you are not his mother, move aside and let us pass, we are in search of assistance.”<br>
For an instant the woman stood awe-struck before this vision of maidenly beauty and indignation, then she laughed and cried out with shrill emphasis:<br>
“When next you look like that, go to your mirror, and when you see the image it reflects, say to yourself, ‘So once looked the woman who defied me in the Park!’”<br>
With a quick shudder and a feeling as if the noisome cloak of this degraded being had somehow been dropped upon her own fair and spotless shoulders, Paula clasped the hand of Cicely more tightly in her own, and rushed with her down the steps that led into the underground passage towards which they had been directed.<br>
There were but two persons in it when they entered. A short thickset man and another man of a slighter and more gentlemanly build. They were engaged in talking, and the latter was bringing down his right hand upon the palm of his left with a gesture almost foreign in its expressive energy.<br>
“I tell you,” declared he, with a voice that while low, reverberated through the hollow vault above him with strange intensity, “I tell you I’ve got my grip on a certain rich man in this city, and if you will only wait, you shall see strange things. I don’t know his name and I don’t know his face, but I do know what he has done, and a thousand dollars down couldn’t buy the knowledge of me.”<br>
“But if you don’t know his name and don’t know his face, how in the name of all that’s mischievous are you going to know your man?”<br>
“Leave that to me! If I once meet him and hear him talk, one more rich man goes down and one more poor devil goes up, or I’ve not the wit that starvation usually teaches.”<br>
The nature of these sentences together with the various manifestations of interest with which they were received, had for a moment deterred the two girls in their hurried advance, but now they put away every thought save that of the poor little creature awaiting his Dad, and lifting up her voice, Paula said,<br>
“Are either of you the father of a little lame lad—”<br>
Instantly and before she could conclude, the taller of the two, who had also been the chief speaker in the above conversation, turned, and she saw his hand begrimed though it was with dirt and dark with many a disgraceful trick, go to his heart in a gesture too natural to be anything but involuntary.<br>
“Is he hurt?” gasped he, but in how different a tone from that of the woman who had used the same words a few minutes before. Then seeing that the persons who addressed him were ladies and one of them at least a very beautiful one, took off his hat with an easy action, that together with what they had heard, proved him to be one of that most dangerous class among us, a gentleman who has gone thoroughly and irretrievably to the bad.<br>
“I am afraid he is, sir,” said Paula. “He was attempting to cross the road, and a horse advancing hurriedly, struck him.” She had not courage to say her horse in face of the white and trembling dismay that seized him at these words.<br>
“Where is he?” cried he. “Where’s my poor boy?” And he bounded up the steps, his hat still in his hand, his long unkempt locks flying, and his whole form expressive of the utmost alarm.<br>
“Down by the carriage road,” called out Paula, finding it impossible for them to keep up with such haste.<br>
“But is he much injured?” cried a smooth voice at their side.<br>
They turned; it was the short thickset man who had been the other’s companion in the conversation above recorded.<br>
“We trust not,” answered Cicely; “his arm received the blow, and he suffers very much, but we hope it is not serious;” and they hurried on.
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