A Strange Disappearance

Product Description
Talking of sudden disappearances the one you mention of Hannah in that Leavenworth case of ours, is not the only remarkable one which has come under my direct notice. Indeed, I know of another that in some respects, at least, surpasses that in points of interest, and if you will promise not to inquire into the real names of the parties concerned, as the affair is a secret, I will relate you my experience regarding it.

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  1. Joyce McDonald @ 3:28 pm

    The “Strange Disappearance” involves a sewing woman who disappears from the household of Holman Blake, much to the dismay of housekeeper Mrs. Daniels, who calls the police even while Mr. Blake remains indifferent to the issue. Ebenezer Gryce and his investigator, known only as “Q,” arrive on the scene to a near-hysterical Mrs. Daniels and an annoyed and uncooperative Mr. Blake. Thus begins a series of questions regarding the stated and real objectives of Ms. Daniels and Mr. Blake, and another series of questions as to the reasons for their respective states of hysteria or indifference regarding the disappearance.

    In this, the second novel in the “Mr. Gryce” series, Anna Katharine Green lays out two apparently unrelated mysteries, to which Mr. Gryce assigns Q to investigate. Green introduced Q in The Leavenworth Case as rather a shadowy character who gets the job done in spite of, or more likely because of, his strangeness. He was arguably the most enthralling character in the novel. Q’s ability to follow leads and ferret out clues, along with his mastery of disguise render him the perfect leg man for the brilliant but reclusive Ebenezer Gryce.

    Like The Leavenworth Case, Anna Katharine Green presents the story of A Strange Disappearance from a first-person viewpoint. However, in the former, the narrator was Everett Raymond, a member of the law firm that handled the Leavenworth’s legal matters. In the latter, to my delight, the narrator is Q. When he comes to some rash and controversial conclusions, Q finds as much challenge in convincing Mr. Gryce of his own competence as he does in solving the two cases and uncovering the relationship, if any, between the two.

    The Leavenworth Case has been Anna Katharine Green’s best-known and best-selling novel. However, owing to the storytelling prowess of Q and a compelling story-within-a-story told by Holman Blake, A Strange Disappearance was for this reader even more enjoyable than the first.

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  2. Richard Moore @ 4:09 pm

    I’m so happy to see some of the great works of Anna Katherine Green; she has become one of my favorite writers, after I ran out of Christie’s books to read. I found out that Agatha Christie, got into writing after reading Greens’ books, who was a bestselling author who publishing about 40 books.

    I read she was first poet and later became a novelist to get attention to her poetry, however, she was so successful at mystery plotting, (she was an expert at the gradual unfolding of the mystery through the successful unearthing of clue after clue), that she dove right into mystery writing only. She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing legally accurate stories, something like Law and Order in the way that the stories are accurate and sometimes based on actual cases.

    Her many fans besides me, include such literary luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Agatha Christie. In fact, not just Christie, but Rinehart wrote that it was the novels of Anna Katharine Green which first inspired her to become writers of mystery fiction to.

    A Strange Disappearance is her second novel, and a great mystery, I’m only half way through and I’m trying to ration myself because its soooo good! If you love a mystery, if you love Christie, or Rinehart, you’ll love this book too!

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  3. Christine Richardson @ 6:17 pm

    I’m one of those people addicted to British mysteries, both on TV and in print. I enjoy the older TV crop, Rumple of the Bailey, Miss Marple, Poirot Frost, etc, but I do enjoy some of the new TV productions that the British offer too. As far as books, I am also of the old school, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence, etc. Of course, all the authors I like have passed on, and while I do re-read their books over and over, I miss new mysteries of the old school. I say that because if any of you feel as I do, I can offer you a wonderful solution that I surprised and delighted me, and that is the works of Anna Katherine Green. I know there are lots of better informed reviewers on Amazon, so please forgive me if I am preaching to the choir, but I had never heard of Green before, let alone that she was the inspiration of Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Mary Roberts Rinehart, etc. I just had never heard of her, (some American TV producer should read her books and make a US mystery series in the British manner since we have exhausted Christie, Doyle, and Rinehart!), but I digress.

    Here is really what I wanted to say, if you love Agatha, and the rest, and miss new mysteries, and are tired re-reading from your existing library, (because you know `whodunit’), than here is a wonderful surprise, you can read the works of Anna Katherine Green! Short and sweet, she `wrote the book’ on these types of `locked door’ mysteries, or they type favored by you and I. She was American, but the method, the situations, the characters and motives are all as good as the British authors she inspired.

    Drink from the well that was the source, and enjoy some fresh mysteries! It’s nice for a change NOT knowing whodunit!

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  4. K. Daru @ 7:00 pm

    I’m a big fan of Victorian mysteries, but this one let me down. The author was supposedly the inspiration for writers such as Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, etc. That’s like calling a cave painting the inspiration for the Mona Lisa. The story was clumsy, totally unrealistic, and melodramatic even by Victorian potboiler standards. I kept expecting Snidely Whiplash to appear, it was *that* hokey. I can’t even attribute the book’s silliness to age: it was published in 1880, a time when there were lots of good mystery writers around. I’m just glad I didn’t have to pay for it.

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