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That Affair Next Door by Anna Katharine…

That Affair Next Door (1897)

by Anna Katharine Green

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I found this an exasperating novel. It is quite long and largely consists of theories regarding the murder posed by Amelia Butterworth and the 77 year old police detective Inspector Gryce.

Some reviews I have read of the Amelia Butterworth novels, of which this is the first, talk about Butterworth as being the forerunner of Miss Marple. Certainly, there are similarities: a quite elderly spinster, a bit of a sticky beak, rather self opiniated, and rather unlikeable. She softens as the novel progresses.

At times Miss Butterworth works in collaboration with the police, but after they make their first arrest, she decides that they have the wrong man, and strikes out investigating on her own, accompanied by her lady's maid. But each time she or the police come up with a scenario which doesn't quite fit the facts and in the long run Amelia Butterworth produces a rabbit from the hat, something the police did not know. But even then there is a twist to the tale, something Butterworth did not know. ( )
  smik | Feb 14, 2015 |
This was the best mystery that I have ever read! For a murder mystery, it was very clean; it did not have the gory details that most seem to have.

An old woman calls the police when she suspects that something strange has happened in the house next door. To their great surprise, they find the body of a young woman crushed under a heavy cabinet. Who is she? What was she doing in the empty house? Why is she wearing another woman's clothing? Why does the coroner swear that she died before the cabinet fell on her? Who is the man that she was seen entering the house with? Was it murder or suicide? It quickly becomes a battle of wits as the old woman races against an overly confident detective to try to solve this perplexing mystery first. Watching the two of them repeatedly try to outfox each other was highly amusing!

Throughout the story Green reveals just enough clues to make you sure that you have figured out the ending, then throws in a startling twist that shatters your hypothesis, over and over again. The ending was completely unforeseen and completely blew me away! Overall, it was an extraordinary book, one I highly recommend, and one I will definitely be reading again! ( )
1 vote outdoorgirl | Feb 20, 2014 |
Anna Katherine Green is an author that I didn't discover until I received my Kindle and was looking for freebies to read. She began writing in 1878 and died in 1935. I don't know how I had missed her books before but I'm so glad I found them! I find her referred to as "The mother of the detective novel" so I'm thrilled that so many of her books are available as Kindle freebies. If I ever see them in hardback, they'll be going on my shelves!

That Affair Next Door features a spinster sleuth long before Miss Marple ever came on the scene. Amelia Butterworth is unashamedly interested in her neighbor's affairs. The house next door is supposed to be empty but one night she sees the son of the owner return with a woman. The gentleman leaves but without the woman. The next day the woman is found dead in the house. Miss Butterworth can't help but investigate, especially when it appears that the police believe she, as an older woman, is just in the way in their investigation.

The story has twists and turns and surprises. It has unwanted wives, costume changes, timing issues, all things that become standard in later detective novels. The clues, such as hats and pincushions, are very satisfying as the meanings come to light. Miss Butterworth is a no-nonsense woman with a strong sense of right and wrong, compassion toward those that deserve it and a keen eye. She is the original spinster sleuth on which many pale imitations are based in later years. She feels original, the book feels original and it was a delight to read. ( )
1 vote Mrsbaty | Dec 9, 2013 |
Perhaps the original "cozy" mystery, The Affair Next Door (written in the early 1890's) introduces Miss Butterworth, an independent spinster who happens to live next door to a house in which a woman has been murdered. This book is well worth reading for any fan of this sub-genre -- Miss Butterworth is an engaging character, the plot has plenty of surprises and neither the writing nor the story are out-of-date.

If you enjoy Agatha Christie's Miss Marple or Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver, you should try this! ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
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Long before Miss Marple came on the scene, mystery writer Anna Katherine Green introduced Amelia Butterworth, the original spinster detective. The Affair Next Door marks the literary debut of this beloved character and offers up some of the most richly detailed, intellectually engaging detective work you'll find anywhere.… (more)

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