As a young woman living in New York City in the early years of the 20th century, Violet Strange certainly stood out. She was, to be sure, one of the leading social lights of New York society, constantly attending parties and other affairs. But she also had another, more secret life as a detective, working very discreetly with another, male, detective - and commanding a large sum of money for her work. Why? That's just one of the mysteries to be discovered in a thoroughly enjoyable collection of short stories called The Golden Slipper: and Other Problems for Violet Strange, by Anna Katharine Green, originally published a century ago, in 1915. The Golden Slipper is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the full review, together with brief summaries of the nine individual stories that make up the book, by clicking here.
Anna Katharine Green is remembered today primarily as the author of The Leavenworth Case, which was reviewed here and on the podcast several months ago. In Violet Strange, Green gives us a fascinating character, one whose real motive for the work she does - and for keeping it secret - is only revealed to us in the final story in The Golden Slipper. We meet her first in a story where her acceptance and admittance into society functions give her the opportunity to solve a puzzling series of thefts. We go on to stories of murder and intrigue, some of them quite dark and unhappy - think of it as "early noir." There is a tendency (shared with many other authors and books of the period) to use very emotional and florid prose, but it feels justified in these stories, right for the period and right for the characters.
Nine problems, nine interesting stories, ranging from intricate puzzles to full-fledged Gothic and emotional nightmares. Violet Strange is a remarkable heroine – there’s not much of the "had-I-but-known" vapors about her. The Golden Slipper: and Other Problems for Violet Strange is available in a variety of formats, including an ebook edition from MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Media. It's definitely worth your reading time.
The 2015 Bingo Challenge
We're closing in on the last few titles to fill the remaining squares in the 2015 Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge. under way at the My Reader's Block blog, The Golden Slipper: and Other Problems for Violet Strange is my entry for the square (third row, fourth column) calling for one book already read by a fellow challenger. In this case, the book was reviewed back in January by Bev Hankins at My Reader's Block. Just one more week to go for the challenge!