Anna Katharine Green was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA in 1846. She aspired to be a writer from a young age, and corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson during her late teens. When her poetry failed to gain recognition, Green produced her first and best-known novel, The Leavenworth Case (1878). Praised by Wilkie Collins, the novel was year's bestseller, establishing Green's reputation.
Green went on to publish around forty books, including A Strange Disappearance (1880), Hand and Ring (1883), The Mill Mystery (1886), Behind Closed Doors (1888), Forsaken Inn (1890), Marked "Personal" (1893), Miss Hurd: An Enigma (1894), The Doctor, His Wife, and the Clock (1895), The Affair Next Door (1897), Lost Man's Lane (1898), Agatha Webb (1899), The Circular Study (1900), The Filigree Ball (1903), The House in the Mist (1905), The Millionaire Baby (1905), The Woman in the Alcove (1906), The Sword of Damocles (1909), The House of the Whispering Pines (1910), Initials Only (1911), Dark Hollow (1914), The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow (1917), The Step on the Stair (1923).
Green wrote at a time when fiction, and especially crime fiction, was dominated by men. However, she is now credited with shaping detective fiction into its classic form, and developing the trope of the recurring detective. Her main character was detective Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Metropolitan Police Force. In three novels, he is assisted by the spinster Amelia Butterworth – the prototype for Miss Marple, Miss Silver and other literary creations. Green also invented the 'girl detective' with the character of Violet Strange, a debutante with a secret life as a sleuth. She died in 1935 in Buffalo, New York, aged 88.