Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Grace Humiston, the detective and lawyer who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation’s greatest crimefighters during an era when women weren’t involved with murder investigations. After agreeing to take the sensational Cruger case, Grace and her partner, the hard-boiled detective Julius J. Kron, navi...

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Title:Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation
Author:Brad Ricca
Rating:
ISBN:1250072247
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:432 pages

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation Reviews

  • Biblio Files
    Dec 08, 2016

    Mrs. Sherlock Holmes was a real person, a lawyer named Grace Humiston who practiced in New York City, specializing in defending clients who didn't have money or influence and often were immigrants who had a slippery grasp of English let alone the New York legal code. In true Perry Mason form, her cases often involved her having to solve a mystery in order to find justice.

    The main story of the narrative is that of the disappearance of Ruth Crueger from her New York neighborhood in 1917. She was o

    Mrs. Sherlock Holmes was a real person, a lawyer named Grace Humiston who practiced in New York City, specializing in defending clients who didn't have money or influence and often were immigrants who had a slippery grasp of English let alone the New York legal code. In true Perry Mason form, her cases often involved her having to solve a mystery in order to find justice.

    The main story of the narrative is that of the disappearance of Ruth Crueger from her New York neighborhood in 1917. She was one of hundreds of young women who disappeared every year. Police usually assumed the women disappeared willingly with their boyfriends and didn't spend too much effort to try to find them. Grace Humiston knew that many of the women had been kidnapped. She was pretty sure Ruth was one of those women and moved heaven and earth to prove that Ruth had met with foul play.

    It's a good mystery with plenty of early 20th century atmosphere, but the narrative skips around some, making it hard to keep track of when and where the action is taking place. Most of what we know about Humiston and her cases comes from newspaper reporting, which was not always the most accurate in those days. In fact, many New York dailies were far more interested in salacious reporting than fact checking. Some of the other resources used for the book were true crime magazines, another category of publication in which selling copies often meant racy headlines at the expense of accurate reporting.

    There are also federal court transcripts and reports, which give a varnish of credibility to the accounts, but this is still a book to be read for entertainment more than for historical accuracy. And it certainly is entertaining.

  • Hannah Pilley
    Dec 22, 2016

    I couldn't put this book down! It grabbed me from page one. For a non-fiction book, it was very well written and even felt like fiction (by it's flow and pace) at times. The story of Mrs. Grace Humiston was one I had never heard of before reading this book, and I was extremely impressed by her life, and the strides she made. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, even those who may not normally read non-fiction.

  • Dave
    Jan 18, 2017

    It read like a thriller but it was non-fiction! Grace Humiston's work as an attorney, investigator, advocate for women, and detective in the early 1900's is remarkable.

  • Cynthia
    Feb 16, 2017

    There were chapters that were page-turners, otherwise this book was poorly written. I could not wait to finish it!

  • Rose
    Jan 28, 2017

    Aspects of this book were fascinating but ultimately it suffered from a meandering lack of focus. The story of Ruth Cruger and Grace's investigation of her disappearance, as well as the story of some of Grace's early cases, was very interesting, but after that the story just wandered. There were points in there somewhere, but not clearly stated or followed up on. I liked the first half but it devolved into being just ok.

  • Amanda
    Feb 13, 2017

    Overall this book disappointed me; however, I am conflicted about how to rate it because I found the story itself very interesting, and there were parts that I really got into. I'd say 2.5 stars. The first quarter of the book dragged, the middle picked up a lot and was really good, and the end dragged again. This felt similar in theory to an Erik Larson book, but it wasn't as well written/captivating. The author sometimes focused on very minute details that he obviously came across during his re

    Overall this book disappointed me; however, I am conflicted about how to rate it because I found the story itself very interesting, and there were parts that I really got into. I'd say 2.5 stars. The first quarter of the book dragged, the middle picked up a lot and was really good, and the end dragged again. This felt similar in theory to an Erik Larson book, but it wasn't as well written/captivating. The author sometimes focused on very minute details that he obviously came across during his research, but they didn't end up being directly relevant to the story so I was confused by why they were included (example: describing multiple items on a minor character's desk). After reading this book, I am not convinced that Grace really deserves the name of "greatest female detective." I feel that subtitle is misleading based on this author's account and perhaps the story could have been written to highlight more of her work to make this more clear. I am impressed by the author's clear attention to detail and research, especially after skimming through the "notes" section. Another review I read of this said "A for story, D for organization," and I would unfortunately have to agree. I ended up skimming the last couple of chapters. I can't recommend this. Check out Erik Larson if you want really good historical nonfiction.

  • Skyluv
    Jan 11, 2017

    Highly recommended. This book kept me up all night can't stop reading. Very well written. Wonder why such story have not come across Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes himself...

  • Annie
    Jan 11, 2017

    This book was very captivating, but very uneven, too. The first half built up the story so well, but then after the mystery was revealed, I felt it really fell flat and rambled on for another hundred pages or so. I feel that I didn't get a full story of either Grace or Ruth (or any of the other dozen interesting characters that were introduced and not quite fully explored.... in fact, by the end, I had a hard time keeping track and the epilogue wasn't much help). Most of the writing was good, bu

    This book was very captivating, but very uneven, too. The first half built up the story so well, but then after the mystery was revealed, I felt it really fell flat and rambled on for another hundred pages or so. I feel that I didn't get a full story of either Grace or Ruth (or any of the other dozen interesting characters that were introduced and not quite fully explored.... in fact, by the end, I had a hard time keeping track and the epilogue wasn't much help). Most of the writing was good, but then there were times where certain turns of phrase were super corny or overly-wrought. If the story were more focused and edited a little better, I feel that it would be more on par with Erik Larson type books.

  • Shivangi Yadav
    Jan 15, 2017

    Actual rating : 3.5

    What a fascinating read. Mrs Quackenbos is a dedicated lawyer/investigator, a feminist and a do-gooder. The first half of the book is incredibly fast paced and a page turner with both Ruth's story and Grace's stories run parallel, till they intersect.

    The story stuck a chord with me mostly with the reactions that Ruth's disappearance elicits. That was 1917 and we are now in 2017 and nothing much has changed since then. Even today, a girl's disappearance is her fault. It's stra

    Actual rating : 3.5

    What a fascinating read. Mrs Quackenbos is a dedicated lawyer/investigator, a feminist and a do-gooder. The first half of the book is incredibly fast paced and a page turner with both Ruth's story and Grace's stories run parallel, till they intersect.

    The story stuck a chord with me mostly with the reactions that Ruth's disappearance elicits. That was 1917 and we are now in 2017 and nothing much has changed since then. Even today, a girl's disappearance is her fault. It's strange that despite so much progress how little we have changed.

  • Phair
    Jan 15, 2017

    I feel rather like the victim of a bait-and-switch con. Was drawn to this as it promised to be a biography of a talented woman, ahead of her time and largely unknown today with a Sherlock Holmes twist. Wrong. This turned out to be a dissatisfying, unfocused 'creative non-fiction' book full of rambling, tedious detail in which the central character, Grace Humiston, one of the first female lawyers and crusader for the poor and immigrants, faded in an out of the reader's view while the author showe

    I feel rather like the victim of a bait-and-switch con. Was drawn to this as it promised to be a biography of a talented woman, ahead of her time and largely unknown today with a Sherlock Holmes twist. Wrong. This turned out to be a dissatisfying, unfocused 'creative non-fiction' book full of rambling, tedious detail in which the central character, Grace Humiston, one of the first female lawyers and crusader for the poor and immigrants, faded in an out of the reader's view while the author showed his research as he jumped around in time. What was the point of the opening chapter about Arthur Conan Doyle's visit to New York? It had nothing to do with Grace's story other than to note the popularity of Sherlock Holmes in the popular consciousness. When newspapers dubbed Grace "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes" she dismissed the notion saying her technique of investigation did not include deduction but rather common sense and perseverance and she noted that she had never read a Holmes story. So much for the Sherlock aspect promised by the title. By the end of the book I didn't really feel I had come to know Grace... she just kind of faded away as did her reputation at the time. I never felt uplifted by the life of this woman, just rather sad about how it all turned out.