Using Fuller Victor’s The Dead Letter, the first book-length American detective story, as a model for The Leavenworth Case, Anna Katharine Green became “the most successful author of detective novels in the postbellum period” (Ross Nickerson 1). It was one of Green’s great accomplishments to make detective fiction, or ‘criminal romance,’ palatable for an upper middle-class audience, while taking the liberty to investigate the male specimens of this class and their queer codes of conduct. In his essay, Poole focuses on conceptualization of masculinity as he analyzes the significance of the unreliable amateur narrator-detective, a gentlemanly lawyer engaged in proving his manliness. As Poole suggests, the figure of the Victorian gentleman, especially when defined ‘beautiful,’ results in gender instability, which in turn highlights Green’s unconventional rendering of male relationships. The paper discusses the relation of lawyers and gentlemen, of lay and real detectives, and the tribulations of triangular desire. (keywords: detective novel, class, masculinity, homosociality, professionalism, contextual reading, New York, 1878)