Last week I was so excited about Anna Katherine Green that I left out an important codicil: she was the first American to write a mystery novel, not the first earthling. I apologize. Thanks, Esau Katz, for pointing this out. And thanks, Josh Getzler, for not pointing out that you'd already pointed this out on an earlier post.
According to Marie T. Farr's entry on her in American Women Prose Writers, 1870-1920 (Dictionary of Literary Biography volume 221), Green disliked the term "detective novel" and preferred "criminal romance." Farr references Alma Murch's "The Development of the Detective Novel" (1958), which claims that Green introduced a number of detective story tropes, including the series detective, the "rich old man, killed when on the point of signing a new will; the body in the library; the dignified butler with his well-trained staff; detailed medical evidence as to the cause and estimated time of death," and more. This suggests that without Green, we wouldn't have the name of this blog!
She's even the one who first came up with the idea of an icicle as a murder weapon in her 1911 novel Initials Only.
"Ralphie, you're lucky it didn't cut your eye! Those icicles have been known to kill people."