"Mrs. Sherlock Holmes "tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions.Read more...
"Mrs. Sherlock Holmes "tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female U.S. District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into modern slavery.
One of Grace's greatest accomplishments was solving the Cruger case after following a trail of corruption that lead from New York to Italy. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls. But the victory came with a price when she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire NYPD.
In the literary tradition of "In Cold Blood" and "The Devil in the White City," Brad Ricca's "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes" is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. This story is about a woman whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction s greatest sleuth. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book and its haunting twist ending is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely."
- ISBN-13: 9781250072245
- ISBN-10: 1250072247
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 448
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.45 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-10-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Ricca (Super Boys) provides a fascinating account of Grace Humiston, a pioneering attorney in the early 20th century, dubbed Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by the press for her investigative prowess. The author effectively employs a novelists techniques to heighten suspense; the first chapter features the discovery of a hole in the floor of a building, the significance of which is not revealed until much later. Ricca then depicts the tragic disappearance, in 1917, of 18-year-old Ruth Cruger, who had left her Manhattan home on an errand. Finally, he introduces Humiston, who in 1905 became one of only a thousand female lawyers in the whole United States. Her intervention on behalf of a woman convicted of murdering an abuser in New Jersey showcases the intelligence, determination, and savvy that became her hallmark. Humistons later exploits almost defy belief as she traveled to the South as a Special United States District Attorney to uncover the practice of slavery through forced debt, an inquiry that came to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. Ultimately, Humiston gets involved in the search for Ruth Cruger, succeeding where so many others had failed. Her incredible life story, superbly portrayed by Ricca, is more proof that truth is stranger than fiction. (Jan.)
A forgotten detective's story
In 1917, the disappearance of an 18-year-old girl named Ruth Cruger caught the nation’s attention. Wearing her blue winter coat and a floppy hat, the recent high school graduate left her family’s Harlem apartment to run errands on a cold February day. At first her family assumed Ruth had gone ice skating, since she’d left with her skates in hopes of getting them sharpened.
But hours later, as the skies darkened and snow fell, Ruth still hadn’t returned home. Retracing Ruth’s steps, her sister tracked down the motorcycle shop where Ruth had left her skates, run by a man named Alfredo Cocchi. A few days later he, too, had vanished.
Police detectives got busy—to no avail. Although they searched Cocchi’s shop, they found nothing. More than two weeks later, authorities concluded that Ruth had simply run away from home. Unwilling to give up, the Crugers hired a lawyer and detective named Grace Humiston, who didn’t rest until the case was solved, months later, with the discovery that Ruth had indeed been murdered at Cocchi’s hands.
Brad Ricca’s account reads like a fictional detective story, with the fascinating figure of Humiston at the center. Although she later faded from public view, Humiston remained dedicated to crimes involving women and girls, even publishing a magazine entitled New Justice, aimed at the protection of girls.
Ricca, a filmmaker and expert on comics, brings an interest in popular culture and media to his narrative, much of which had to be pieced together from newspaper accounts. Ricca’s dramatic, novelistic storytelling makes for a great read. And thanks to his detective work, Humiston and her remarkable commitment to justice have been rescued from obscurity and brought to life.