In this lecture I'm going to talk about Anna Katharine Green's novel The Forsaken Inn, a historical mystery published in 1890 and set at the very end of the 18th century so a hundred years before the time of its publication. I'm here in the special collections library at the University of Virginia, and I'm going to show you a first edition of the Forsaken Inn in a little while. First, though, I want to talk about Anna Katharine Green. She was a prolific writer of crime and detective fiction in the 19th century. Many of you will be learning about her for the first time in this class. And in fact, I had never heard of her before I started putting together the syllabus for this course a few months ago. She's been called the mother of detective fiction by her biographer, and I posted a link to the definitive biography of Green on the readings tab. She was born in 1846 in Brooklyn. She was the daughter of a trial lawyer, which may have had some influence on her interest in writing detective fiction and crime procedurals. Green's first novel, The Leavenworth Case, was published in 1878 to wide acclaim, and it was a real best-seller at the time. the novel introduced perhaps the first real fictional detective in American literature, Inspector Ebenezer Gryce, who would appear in many of her other works, in what was an emerging mystery and crime genre for the transatlantic mass market. And you, you really have to think about Green's significance in International terms, and take a real broad view of the history of crime fiction to understand her importance. The Leavenworth Case was published years before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the first story on Sherlock Holmes. It was influenced by the American writer, Edgar Allan Poe. But it departed from Poe's stories of crime and retribution, by focusing very specifically on procedure, both forensic and police procedure, and legal criminal procedure. So it really is a quite significant novel, it gives us one of the first professional sleuths in English language fiction. The novelist compelling to a variety of leaderships. There was a famous British lawyer, for example, who made a special effort to meet Green during a visit to Harvard Law School in 1898. The Leavenworth case sparked controversy in the Pennsylvania Legislature, over whether a novel of this quality could have been written by a woman. The lauded novel was lauded for its legal realism, it was even utilized in class at Yale, to present how circumstantial evidence can be deceptive. And Greene herself took on a public role in contemporary legal matters in the public eye. She wrote a newspaper article in 1892, arguing that the evidence showed that Lizzie Borden didn't kill her parents, and I've given you links to some of her other writing in this vain under the readings tab. Now the Forsaken Inn is a kind of locked-room mystery in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Cristie, or the game Clue. In other words, a crime, usually a murder, that takes place at a house, or on a ship, or an estate, some kind of limited, geographically-limited location, and nearly every character we meet is a suspect. The novel takes place in an American inn in the late 18th century where a group of American gentry and French aristocrats are visiting. The narrator at the beginning is a man living more or less in the present day. And he receives a manuscript written by a past owner of the inn. And the story, a young bride is murdered on her wedding night. Supposedly murdered. Suspicion is cast on Edwin Urquhart, the new husband of the victim, who's rumored to have run off with the victim's sister. And the story is told through a complicated and layered and long series of letters. Diaries and spoken exchanges between Larissa Truax, the landlady of the inn, and various readers and interlocheters who come to the inn to learn and inquire about the murder over a number of years particularly Mr. Anthony Tamworth. He's a detective figure who's resolved to solve this old case. And also a man named Mark Felt. Who has an important role in the story as it unfolds in a later locations far from the end. Now, I won't give you any spoilers in case you haven't read it yet. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot. but as in other of her works, Green embroidered Edgar Allen Poe's locked room mystery into a realistic plot device. The detective in the novel, and really a number of detective figures, investigate the murder. Picking up various strands of evidence, and so on. Thinking about location, about motive, about physical evidence that they discover. And this is what Larissa Truax says when the body of the victim is first discovered. But this is years later, years after the murder. Shall I ever forget my emotions as I looked about me and saw, by the lamp which the doctor carried, nothing more startling than an old oak chest in one corner, a pile of faded clothing in another, and in a third. Heavens! What is it? We all stare, and then a shriek escapes my lips, as piercing and terror-stricken as any that ever disturbed those fearful shadows. And I rushed blindly from the spot, followed by Mr Tamworth, whose face, as I turn to look at him, gives me another pang of fear, so white and sick it looks in the sudden glare of day. What is it? I gasped. Tell me at once is it a man or a woman or, it is a woman. See! Here is a lock of her hair. Beautiful, is it not? She must have been young. I stared at it like one demented. It was of a peculiar reddish brown, with a strange little kink and curl in it. Where had I seen such hair before? Somewhere, I remembered perfectly how the whole bright head looked with the firelight playing over it. Oh, no, no, no. For reasons you'll learn when you read the novel, they decide to bury the body in the backyard of the inn. And this is the scene from chapter five. An interim of suspense, where Mrs. Truax is watching from her room as the victim's body is buried in the backyard of the forsaken inn. How fearful to hear a spade in the night and know that this spade is digging a grave. I sit at my desk and listen to hear if any one in the house has been aroused or is suspicious, and then I turn to the window and try to pierce the gloom to see if anything can be discerned from the house, of the gruesome act now being performed in the garden. For after much consultation and several conferences with the authorities, we have decided to preserve from public knowledge not only the secret of the room hidden in my house, but of the discovery which has lately been made there. But while much harm would accrue to me by revelations which would throw a pall of horror over my inn, and make it no better than a place of morbid curiosity forever. The purposes of justice would be rather hindered than helped by a publicity which would give warning to the guilty couple, and prevent us from surprising them in the imagined security which the lapse of so many years must have brought them. And so a grave is being dug in the garden, where, at the darkest hour of night the remains of the sweet and gentle bride. Or to be places without tablet or mound. And indeed the spot does become a place of morbid curiosity over the years. Here's the last passage I'll read you. It's one of Mrs. Truaxe's journal entries from October 15, 1791. An unnamed woman has come to the inn. And is strangely attracted to the rock near the resting place of Mrs. Irkahardt's body. And here, you can see the shades of pose The Tell-Tale Heart. With all the Gothic suspense and pounding guilt. That stone in the garden seems to possess a magnetic attraction for madame. She is over it or near it half the time. If I go out in the early morning to gather grapes for dinner There she is before me, pacing up and down the paths, converging to that spot, and gazing with eager eyes at that simple stone, as if by the force of her will, she would extract its secret and make it tell her what she evidently burns to know. If I want flowers for the parlor mantel, and hurry to the garden during the heat of the day, there is madame with a huge hat on her head Plucking asters or pulling down apples from the low-hanging branches of the trees. It is the same at nightfall. Suspicious, always suspicious now, I frequently stop, in passing through the upper western hall, to take a peep from the one window that overlooks this part of the garden. I invariably see her there; and remembering that her daughter is ill. Remembering that in my hearing she promised that daughter that she would not leave her again, I feel impelled at times to remind her of the fact, and see what reply will follow. But I know. She will say that she is not well herself; that the breeze from the river does her good, that she loves nature, and sleeps better after a ramble under the stars. I cannot disconcert her, not for long. And I cannot compete with her in volubility and conversational address, so I will continue to play a discrete part and wait. Now, remember that passage because I'll talk about it again in a moment. I won't read more, but I encourage you to read the novel in full, despite the Gothic emotionalism that it sometimes displays. It's well worth the time. Particularly for those of us who love crime novels. And for our class it has a real importance. The Forsaken Inn has been described as perhaps the first historical mystery novel in the English language. In other words, the first historical novel that's also a genuine mystery novel with all the sleuthing and detective work this genre demands. And conversely the first mystery novel that's rigorously historical, a remotely set historical mystery.