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X Y Z, A detective Story

Anna Katharine Green

Book Overview: 

"Sometimes in the course of his experience, a detective, while engaged in ferreting out the mystery of one crime, runs inadvertently upon the clue to another. But rarely has this been done in a manner more unexpected or with attendant circumstances of greater interest than in the instance I am now about to relate.

For some time the penetration of certain Washington officials had been baffled by the clever devices of a gang of counterfeiters who had inundated the western portion of Massachusetts with spurious Treasury notes. Some of the best talent of the Secret Service had been expended upon the matter, but with no favorable result, when, one day, notice was received at Washington that a number of suspicious-looking letters, addressed to the simple initials, X. Y. Z., Brandon, Mass., were being daily forwarded through the mails of that region; and it being deemed possible that a clue had at last been offered to the mystery in hand, I was sent northward to investigate."

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .iving the ball, and the person called to the rendezvous; the entertainment being used as a blind if not as a means."

It was now four o'clock, five hours before the time of rendezvous. How should I employ the interval? A glance at the livery-stable hard by, determined me. Procuring a horse, I rode out on the road toward Mr. Benson's, for the purpose of reconnoitring the grounds; but as I proceeded I was seized by an intense desire to penetrate into the midst of this peculiar household, and judge for myself whether it was worth while to cherish any further suspicions in regard to this family. But how to effect such an entrance? What excuse could I give for my intrusion that would be likely to serve me on a day of such tumult and preoccupation? I looked up and down the road as if for inspiration. It did not come. Meanwhile, the huge trees that surrounded the house had loomed in sight, and presently the beauties of lawn and parterre began to appear beyond the . . . Read More

Community Reviews

It is surprising how few crime novels begin with the letter X. (This is clearly NOT a problem in the sci-fi or fantasy genres.) In search of one as part of an A-to-Z challenge, I came across this novelette by Anna Katharine Green. I'm ashamed to say that although she lived in Buffalo NY for many...more

Well, this was . . . different. Told in first person by an unnamed detective for the U.S. Government, this story starts off seeking counterfeiters, but instead ends up with a totally different case. There was plenty of action and it kept me reading, but the ending felt abrupt and strange. Not wha...more


by Andrea Renee Cox

What a fun mini-mystery! After such a complex and intriguing story, I am hopeful about trying another book by this author.

*mentions of death, murder, and suicide
*one expletive
*one profanity

I was not compensated for my honest review.

This is a short novella by one of my favorite authors. Despite its length, it still feels quite solid and completeexcept that the narrator tells us his story and never his name.

This unnamed government agent is in pursuit of a lead on a counterfeiting case when he stumbled headlong into a crime in...more

When I started this story I thought I won't like it. But it turned out to be a cute cozy mystery which I enjoyed.

Quick Mystery

What an odd little mystery! Old-fashioned and a quick read. A bit more intriguing at the beginning, but entertaining nonetheless.

Anna Katharine Green was an American poet and novelist. She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories. Green has been called the mother of the detective novel. Green is credited with shaping detective f...more

For a short and very old story, I enjoyed this mystery by Anna Katharine Green. I read this story because I needed it for my A-Z book challenge and can easily recommend it for anyone needing a book title with an X. :)

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