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Behind Closed Doors by Anna Katharine Green

Behind Closed Doors (1888)

by Anna Katharine Green

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Behind Closed Doors is the 5th book in Anna Katharine Green's series featuring Detective Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Police Department. Behind Closed Doors and the next in the series, A Matter of Millions have been very difficult to get hold of but one publisher has reissued both these books in one omnibus volume (Detective Gryce, N.Y.P.D.: Volume: 6 published by Leonaur Press).

It's a shame that this is so hard to come by because I thought this was the strongest book in the series so far. The plot is almost Wilkie Collins-esque featuring two women who look so alike that at one point one's fiancee mistakes one woman for the other. There's a bride who disappears for days before her wedding day only to reappear at the last minute and another bride who disappears just before her wedding and then is found dying. She seems to have been poisoned but is it suicide or murder? And what could the motive be?

But although the plot brought to mind one of Wilkie Collins' sensation novels, the style is different. Gryce is a very methodical detective: slow, steady, and painstaking and the way Gryce uncovers the clues and solves the mystery is one of the strengths of this detective novel. Like the earlier Gryce books, he is often assisted by other detectives, both official detectives like 'Q' (short for Query) a young, undercover detective we met in The Leavenworth Case, or Mrs Roberts described as 'an expert female detective' and unofficial detectives like the medical man, Dr Campion who wants to clear his wife's name.

The fault with AKG's books for today's readers lies in the amount of melodrama in the book and the occasional implausibility of the plot. The solution to this mystery is logically sound but I to find it psychologically credible you need to believe people really behave as if they were in a melodrama, more so than I find with something like [The Woman in White]. But if you can cope with the melodrama then I do recommend this series ( )
  souloftherose | Apr 15, 2014 |
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It was Dr. Cameron's wedding-day.
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