Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lost Man's Lane, Anna Katharine Green

Ever since my fortunate- or shall I say unfortunate?- connection with the famous case of murder in Gramercy Park, I have had it intimated to me by many of my friends- and by some who were not my friends- that no woman who had met with such success as myself in detective work would ever be satisfied with a single display of her powers, and that sooner or later I would find myself again at work upon some other case of striking peculiarities.

This is another excellent mystery by Anna Katharine Green. Though the mystery itself is less interesting, the writing was just as good. In Lost Man's Lane, Amelia Butterworth must go to a mysterious village upstate where four or five people have vanished, on the "lost man's lane". It just so happens that the children of Butterworth's old schoolfriend happen to live on the lane too, and their house is one of several that is shrouded in suspicion. Butterworth and Gryce (who are now more friendly) must unravel what's really going on.

Much like That Affair Next Door, Lost Man's Lane is full of twists and turns. Butterworth and Gryce come to one conclusion, which proven false after a new discovery. This one deals more with the perceived supernatural; there's a "phantom coach" (which isn't really phantom at all), and the villagers are always talking of ghosts.

There are quite a few interesting characters. Lucetta and Loreen, the two daughters of Althea Knollys, Butterworth's friend, now dead (or so it seems), are well done. They both seem very suspicious, but not as much as William, the son, who has a taste for vivisection and is boorish and rude. But could Mother Jane, the deaf old woman who also lives on the lane, really be behind the disappearances? Or Deacon Spear?

I read That Affair Next Door and Lost Man's Lane in one delightful volume from Duke University press. Both mysteries are intriguing and well worth the time of reading.

Read Lost Man's Lane:
  • if you like mystery
  • if you like books with "ghosts"
  • if you like Anna Katharine Green
194 pages (but it's longer than it seems).
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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