ANNA KATHARINE GREEN [1846-1935] (born Anna Catherine) was one of America's first writers of detective novels. She also published short stories, one book of poetry, and one play. In all, she is credited with more than forty books. She was a bestselling author for nearly one-quarter-century.
In 1866, she graduated from Ripley Female College, Poultney, Vermont (now Green Mountain Junior College). After graduation she returned home where she wrote poetry and secretly began drafting a manuscript of detective fiction that was six years in the making. In 1878, that manuscript was published as The Leavenworth Case: A Lawyer's Story. The book beacame an immediate bestseller—selling more than 75,000 copies over the next 15 years. After the success of her first book she changed the spelling of her middle name (her deceased mother was Katherine.) From hearing her father's discussions with legal colleagues—judges, police chiefs, and investigators, she plotted the book with forensic minutiae. Her first book developed a framework with many realistic aspects such as logical investigatory procedures, expert witnesses e.g., ballistics experts and medical experts, which influenced later writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. The book was notably used at Yale University Law School in demonstrating cases proving unreliable circumstantial evidence. After her sequel A Strange Disappearance (1880), she published her only book of poetry The Defense of the Bride and Other Poems (1882). It attained lukewarm reviews. In her later detective novels, she introduced notable protaganists such as New York City police detective, Ebenezer Gryce. And, it is believed that her character, the spinster sleuth Amelia Butterworth, was modeled on Anna's older unmarried sister. In 1884, at the age of 37 she married Charles Rohlfs, age 28, a budding actor.