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Detective Gryce, N. Y. P. D.: Volume: 1

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Detective Gryce, N. Y. P. D.: Volume: 1
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Anna Katherine Green
Date Published: 2012/01
Page Count: 588
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-768-5
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-767-8

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 first substantial volume includes the renowned, ‘The Leavenworth Case’ and ‘That Affair Next Door.’ 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.

To return to my own observations. I was almost as ignorant of what I wanted to know at ten o’clock on that memorable night as I was at five, but I was determined not to remain so. When the two Misses Van Burnam had retired to their room, I slipped away to the neighbouring house and boldly rang the bell. I had observed Mr. Gryce enter it a few minutes before, and I was resolved to have some talk with him.<br>
The hall-lamp was lit, and we could discern each other’s faces as he opened the door. Mine may have been a study, but I am sure his was. He had not expected to be confronted by an elderly lady at that hour of night.<br>
“Well!” he dryly ejaculated, “I am sensible of the honour, Miss Butterworth.” But he did not ask me in.<br>
“I expected no less,” said I. “I saw you come in, and I followed as soon after as I could. I have something to say to you.”<br>
He admitted me then and carefully closed the door. Feeling free to be myself, I threw off the veil I had tied under my chin and confronted him with what I call the true spirit.<br>
“Mr. Gryce,” I began, “let us make an exchange of civilities. Tell me what you have done with Howard Van Burnam, and I will tell you what I have observed in the course of this afternoon’s investigation.”<br>
This aged detective is used to women, I have no doubt, but he is not used to me. I saw it by the way he turned over and over the spectacles he held in his hand. I made an effort to help him out.<br>
“I have noted something today which I think has escaped you. It is so slight a clue that most women would not speak of it. But being interested in the case, I will mention it, if in return you will acquaint me with what will appear in the papers tomorrow.”<br>
He seemed to like it. He peered through his glasses and at them with the smile of a discoverer. “I am your very humble servant,” he declared; and I felt as if my father’s daughter had received her first recognition.<br>
But he did not overwhelm me with confidences. O, no, he is very sly, this old and well-seasoned detective; and while appearing to be very communicative, really parted with but little information. He said enough, however, for me to gather that matters looked grim for Howard, and if this was so, it must have become apparent that the death they were investigating was neither an accident nor a suicide.
I hinted as much, and he, for his own ends no doubt, admitted at last that a wound had been found on the young woman which could not have been inflicted by herself; at which I felt such increased interest in this remarkable murder that I must have made some foolish display of it, for the wary old gentleman chuckled and ogled his spectacles quite lovingly before shutting them up and putting them into his pocket.<br>
“And now what have you to tell me?” he inquired, sliding softly between me and the parlour door.<br>
“Nothing but this. Question that queer-acting house-cleaner closely. She has something to tell which it is your business to know.”<br>
I think he was disappointed. He looked as if he regretted the spectacles he had pocketed, and when he spoke there was an edge to his tone I had not noticed in it before.<br>
“Do you know what that something is?” he asked.<br>
“No, or I should tell you myself.”<br>
“And what makes you think she is hiding anything from us?”<br>
“Her manner. Did you not notice her manner?”<br>
He shrugged his shoulders.<br>
“It conveyed much to me,” I insisted. “If I were a detective I would have the secret out of that woman or die in the attempt.”<br>
He laughed; this sly, old, almost decrepit man laughed outright. Then he looked severely at his old friend on the newel-post, and drawing himself up with some show of dignity, made this remark:<br>
“It is my very good fortune to have made your acquaintance, Miss Butterworth. You and I ought to be able to work out this case in a way that will be satisfactory to all parties.”<br>
He meant it for sarcasm, but I took it quite seriously, that is to all appearance. I am as sly as he, and though not quite as old—now I am sarcastic—have some of his wits, if but little of his experience.<br>
“Then let us to work,” said I. “You have your theories about this murder, and I have mine; let us see how they compare.”<br>
If the image he had under his eye had not been made of bronze, I am sure it would have become petrified by the look he now gave it. What to me seemed but the natural proposition of an energetic woman with a special genius for his particular calling, evidently struck him as audacity of the grossest kind. But he confined his display of astonishment to the figure he was eying, and returned me nothing but this most gentlemanly retort:<br>
“I am sure I am obliged to you, madam, and possibly I may be willing to consider your very thoughtful proposition later, but now I am busy, very busy, and if you will await my presence in your house for a half hour——”<br>
“Why not let me wait here,” I interposed. “The atmosphere of the place may sharpen my faculties. I already feel that another sharp look into that parlour would lead to the forming of some valuable theory.”<br>
“You—” Well, he did not say what I was, or rather, what the image he was apostrophizing, was. But he must have meant to utter a compliment of no common order.<br>
The prim courtesy I made in acknowledgment of his good intention satisfied him that I had understood him fully; and changing his whole manner to one more in accordance with business, he observed after a moment’s reflection:<br>
“You came to a conclusion this afternoon, Miss Butterworth, for which I should like some explanation. In investigating the hat which had been drawn from under the murdered girl’s remains, you made the remark that it had been worn but once. I had already come to the same conclusion, but by other means, doubtless. Will you tell me what it was that gave point to your assertion?”<br>
“There was but one prick of a hat-pin in it,” I observed. “If you have been in the habit of looking into young women’s hats, you will appreciate the force of my remark.”<br>
“The deuce!” was his certainly uncalled for exclamation. “Women’s eyes for women’s matters! I am greatly indebted to you, ma’am. You have solved a very important problem for us. A hat-pin! humph!” he muttered to himself. “The devil in a man is not easily balked; even such an innocent article as that can be made to serve, when all other means are lacking.”
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