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Detective Gryce, N. Y. P. D.: Volume: 2

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Detective Gryce, N. Y. P. D.: Volume: 2
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Anna Katherine Green
Date Published: 2012/01
Page Count: 628
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-770-8
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-769-2

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 second substantial volume includes the ‘Lost Man’s Lane,’ ‘The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow’ and ‘A Strange Disappearance.’ 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.

A woman fleeing from publicity as one flies from death—a refined woman, too, whose life had hitherto been passed in the open!<br>
When Antoinette Duclos, after a night and morning of unprecedented fatigue and extraordinary fears, with little to upbear her in the way of food, stepped from the train which brought a few local passengers into the quiet village of Rexam, she hardly would have been recognized by her best friend, such marks may a few hours leave upon one battling with untoward Fate in one supreme effort.<br>
She seemed to realize this, for meeting more than one eye fixed inquiringly upon her she drew down the veil wound about a sort of cap she wore till it concealed not only her features but her throat which a restless pulse had tightened almost to the exclusion of her breath. Ready to drop, she yet made use of the little energy left her, to approach with faltering steps a lumbering old vehicle waiting in the dust and smoke for such passengers as might wish to be taken up Long Hill.<br>
There was no driver in sight, but she did not hesitate to take her seat inside. There was extra business at the station, for this was the first train to come in for two days; and if anyone noticed her in the shadowy recesses of the cumbrous old coach, nobody approached her; nor was she in any way disturbed. When the driver did show himself, she was almost asleep, but she woke up quickly enough when his good-natured face peered in at her and she heard him ask where she wanted to go and whether she had any baggage.<br>
“I want to go up Long Hill and be set down at the first cross-road,” she said. “My baggage is here.” And she pointed to the space at her feet. But that space was empty; she had no baggage. She had dropped both bag and umbrella at the side of the road after one of her long climbs under a fitful moon and had not so much as thought of them since.<br>
Now she remembered and flushed as she met the eyes of the man looking in at her with his hand on his whiskers, smoothing them thoughtfully down but saying nothing, though his countenance and expression showed him to be one of the loquacious sort. If any smiles remained to her from the old days, now was the time for one; but before she could twist her dry lips into any such attempt, he had uttered a cheerful “All right” and turned away to clamber up into his seat.<br>
The relief was great, and she settled back, rejoicing in the fact that they would soon be moving and that she was likely to be the sole passenger. But she soon came to rue this fact, for the driver wanted to talk and even made many abortive attempts that way. But she could not fall in with his mood, and seeing this, he soon withheld all remarks and bent his full energies to the task of urging his horses up the interminable incline.<br>
Houses, at which she scarcely looked, disappeared gradually from view, and groups of spreading trees and patches of upland took their places, deepening into the forest as they advanced. When halfway up, the farther mountains, which had hitherto been hidden by nearer hills, burst into view. Behind them the sun was setting, and the scene was glorious. If she saw it at all, she gave no sign of pleasure or even of admiration. Her head, which she had held straight up for the first quarter of a mile, sank lower and lower as they clambered on; yet she gave no signs of drowsiness—only of a mortal weariness which seemed to attack the very springs of life. The pomp and pageantry of the heavens, burning with all the pigments of the rainbow, failed to appeal to a soul shut within dungeon bars. Rocks and mighty gorges darkling to the eye and stirring to the imagination held no story for her; she looked neither to the right nor to the left while the beauty lasted, much less when the last gleam had faded from the mountain tops and a troop of leaden clouds, coming up from the east, added their shadows to those of premature night.<br>
The driver, who had been eying these clouds for some little time, felt that he ought to speak if she did not. Pulling up his horses as though to give them a breathing spell, he remarked over his shoulder with a strain of anxiety in his voice:<br>
“I hope your friends live near the top of the hill, missus. A storm is coming up, and it’s getting very dark. Will you have to walk far?”<br>
“No, no,” she assured him with a quick glance up and around her. “A little way, a very little way!” Then she became quiet and absorbed again.<br>
“I’ve got to go on,” he broke in again as the top of the hill came in sight. “I’ve a passenger for the eight-fifty train waiting for me more than a mile along the road. I shall have to leave you after I set you down.”<br>
“That’s right; I expect that. I can take care of myself—don’t worry. Not but what you’re very kind,” she added after a moment, in her cultured voice, with just enough trace of accent to make it linger sweetly in the ear.<br>
“Then here we are,” he called back a moment later, jerking his horses to a standstill and jumping down into the road. “Goin’ east or goin’ west?” he asked as he took another glance at her frail and poorly protected figure.<br>
“This way,” she answered, pointing east.<br>
He stopped and stared at her.<br>
“Nobody lives that way,” he said, “—that is, nobody near enough for you to reach shelter before the storm bursts.”<br>
“You are mistaken,” she said, cringing involuntarily as the first big clap of thunder rolled in endless echoes among the mountains. And turning about, she started hurriedly into the shadows of the narrow cross-road.
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