A. K. Green

This mystery series of nine books is based on a collection of short stories first published in 1915:  The Golden Slipper and Other Problems for Violet Strange by Anna Katherine Green.  The short stores are in the public domain, but the novels are protected by Candida Martinelli’s copyright, as are the screenplays of the novels.

A. K. Green as a Young Woman

Anna Katherine Green

Anna Katherine Green (b.1846-d.1935) lived all her life in New York state.  She was awarded a College degree, earned a living as a bestselling writer for 50 years, and married for love:  three things that few women at that time did.

Early English Book Cover

Her first novel was The Leavenworth Case (1878).  It was America’s first bestselling novel, selling over 750,000 copies in 15 years. 

A discussion of the authorship of The Leavenworth Case was even recorded in a state Congressional Record.  The honorable gentlemen concluded that it was impossible for a woman to have authored a book so accurate about legal proceedings.

Green published novels, short stories and short story collections almost every year for the next 50 years.  Her novels are known for their tight construction, ingenious plots, puzzles, the gradual uncovering of clues, detection by professional and amateur detectives, strong characterizations, and a strong grasp of the law and human nature.

From The Leavenworth Case

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a fan, and corresponded with her while building his career.  Agatha Christie wrote in her autobiography that Green inspired her to become a mystery writer.  And many elements in Christie’s work are echoes of Green’s original creations.  While Christie is considered “The Queen of the Detective Novel”, Anna Katherine Green is honored with the title “The Mother of the Detective Novel”.

Mature A. K. Green

Candida has researched the life and times of Anna Katherine Green in great detail, and has included details from her life in the books, when appropriate.  They enrich the stories with interesting period places, people and things.  And for those who care to research the author further, or to read other works by Anna Katherine Green, the details from her life should provide for even greater interest in the series.

Anna Katherine Green was a ground-breaking author for her sex, and for the masses of readers who have loved and still love mystery-detective stories.  She pioneered the use of:

  • the amateur detective working with the police,

  • the spinster detective,

  • the young girl detective,

  • the working woman detective,

  • the inclusion of floor plans and maps,

  • challenging ciphers and puzzles,

  • fair play clues to allow a reader to play detective,

  • the older police detective with his young sidekick,

  • the private detective and the police.

There are other reasons why Anna Katherine Green should be of interest to today’s audiences.

  • While not a campaigner for women’s rights, Green included in many of her stories the injustices women suffered in paternalistic societies, often making those injustices integral to her plots.

  • Several of her stories were filmed or adapted to stage.

  • And for a generation, she entertained celebrities and politicians, as well as the masses who bought her books or checked them out of lending libraries throughout the English-speaking world, and in translation around the world.

  • That her name is not commonly known, and her accomplishments not commonly celebrated, is a shame.  That is only one of the reasons Candida has adapted her stories to a television serial.

The Violet Strange Short Stories

Title Page First Edition
First Page, First Story

Green’s novels are often long by today’s standards for detective fiction.  They are set in an era very different from our own and written in the style of that earlier era.  They often include flashback sequences in the middle or near the end of many of the novels, during which the motive for the crime is explained.  All these points make adaptations of her novels a challenge.

Her short stories are better suited to adaptation.  But only The Golden Slipper and Other Problems for Violet Strange features one detective throughout the various stories.  Violet Strange, grows during each of her investigations to a certain extent, and over the course of all her investigations to a much greater extent.

But the main reason Candida adapted the Violet Strange stories is because she enjoyed reading them.  She found them engaging and entertaining, and at times moving, romantic, nostalgic and exciting.

Contents of Short Stories
Illustration from Book

After reading them, Candida kept thinking how much she would love to see them adapted to a series of film-length episodes for television.  She then imagined how they might play out.  Before long, the films had taken shape in her mind.  Now, after years of work, the films have taken shape as screenplays and as books for young-adults.

Because of the nature of short stories, Candida was called on to create the second of the three acts.  She also reordered the stories for dramatic effect.  And she created supporting and recurring characters.

Copyright – Public Domain

(Wikisource note on the Violet Strange stories.)  “This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.  The author died in 1935, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.”

A. K. Green’s The Golden Slipper and Other Problems for Violet Strange, G. P. Putnam and Sons, New York, 1915, free public domain e-book at Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3071).

All of Candida Martinelli’s nine books are protected by copyright, as are the screenplays adapted from the books.