ANNA KATHARINE GREEN – Initials Only. Dodd Mead, hardcover, 1911. Hardcover reprint: A. L. Burt Co.


   Mrs. Rohlfs’s latest story [see FOOTNOTE] is distinguished by the small number of people involved and by the consequent narrowing and intensifying of interest upon the criminal and the detective, the latter being our old friend [Caleb] Sweetwater, acting under the aid of our older friend [Ebenezer] Gryce.

   Outside of her skill in weaving a plot Mrs. Rohlfs has few of the novelist’s virtues, and her attempt in the first part of this book to narrate events at second-hand through the mouth of a woman who has nothing to do with the plot is extremely awkward. However, this useless device is soon dropped, and the rest of the story proceeds naturally to its ruthless end.

   In no other of her stories has she presented a stronger character than [SPOILER DELETED], who is hounded by the relentless Sweetwater, and his character is not extraneous to the plot but essentially involved.

   There is a bit of unfairness in the climax which does not come — as it should come in the legitimate detective story — from the direct game of pursuit and evasion.

– Unsigned
– “Current Fiction”
– October 5, 1911
– [Scroll down to page 316, left bottom]

Also online here:
– Color frontispiece

FOOTNOTE: From Wikipedia: “On November 25, 1884, Green married the actor and stove designer, and later noted furniture maker, Charles Rohlfs, who was seven years her junior.”

   Thanks once again to to Mike Tooney, who first uncovered this review and posted it to Yahoo’s Golden Age of Detection group.