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The Woman in the Alcove

Anna Katharine Green

Book Overview: 

“I was, perhaps, the plainest girl in the room that night. I was also the happiest—up to one o’clock. Then my whole world crumbled, or, at least, suffered an eclipse. Why and how, I am about to relate.” Thus begins this mystery told by Anna Katharine Green, one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and renowned for writing well plotted, legally accurate stories.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . a friend who agreed to introduce me to the lady. She received me very graciously and was amiable enough until the subject of diamonds was broached, when she immediately stiffened and left me without an opportunity of proffering my request. However, on every other subject she was affable, and I found it easy enough to pursue the acquaintance till we were almost on friendly terms. But I never saw the diamond, nor would she talk about it, though I caused her some surprise when one day I drew out before her eyes the one I had procured for my patron and made her look at it. 'Fine,' she cried, 'fine!' But I failed to detect any envy in her manner, and so knew that I had not achieved the object set me by my wealthy customer. This was a woeful disappointment; yet, as Mrs. Fairbrother never wore her diamond, it was among the possibilities that he might be satisfied with the very fine gem I had obtained for him, and, influenced by this hope, I sent him this morning a request to co. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A forerunner of the classic English mystery genre, The Woman in the Alcove was written by an American in 1905. Miss Van Arsdale, short and plain, is a member of the lower echelon of New York's high society, and has recently resigned her self to a life as a spinster nurse. As the story opens, she is

“I was, perhaps, the plainest girl in the room that night. I was also the happiest—up to one o’clock. Then my whole world crumbled, or, at least, suffered an eclipse. Why and how, I am about to relate.”

Could you resist an opening like that? I couldn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t, because it pulled me int

Interesting as a product of its time and as one of the early American mysteries. Lots of melodrama, lots of improbable and implausible shenanigans leading to the solution, but fun if you are a fan of the genre. Notable for having a female protagonist/amateur detective, also, although I would have to

A very old fashioned mystery, with a heroine who actually did very little detective work. It reminded me of how I would solve a mystery, if I ever did so: eavesdropping, sneaking through hallways, reading other people's letters, and bumbling the whole process a good share of the time.

I was perhaps,

Enjoyable plot, characters and narration ... only need a fireplace and hot chocolate...more

This mystery starts out with the heroine, Rita Van Ardsdale, falling head over heels in love with Anson Durand (very cheesy romance). But, fortunately, after the first few chapters, her true love disappears from the book after being hauled off to jail on suspicion of murder and theft. Rita Van Arsda

It was a pretty good book. Definitly a product of it's time; but I don't mean that in a bad way. For instance people speak of "having a feeling" to open a letter first when I would call it commen sense. Let's say you are on a "mission" and at a point of no return. You see a letter addressed to you f

The author, Anna Katharine Green, lived from (1846-1935),
which means that this story was written a long time ago.
There were certain words and phrases that we just don't use anymore which made the story difficult to understand at times.
I found myself re-reading a couple of passages to make sure that

There are two aspects to every audiobook - the story and the narrator. In this case, this is even more pronounced as the book is a classic, available via creative commons. So I'll talk about the book first and the performance afterwards.

The story itself was interesting, but it was very convoluted. I

I am the 5th person on Goodreads to review this book. Score!

To tell the truth, I wouldn't have picked this up, ever, if it wasn't for my English professor suggesting I read it. It's a fun, vintage mystery (published in 1903, hence my placing it on my History shelf) that's full of fancy rich people

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