Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

The True Story of New York's City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated A Nation

Book - 2017 | First Edition
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Nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime!

This is the shocking and amazing true story of the first female U.S. District Attorney and traveling detective who found missing 18-year-old Ruth Cruger when the entire NYPD had given up.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Grace Humiston, the lawyer, detective, and first woman U.S. District Attorney who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation's greatest crime-fighters during an era when women were still not allowed to vote. After agreeing to take the sensational case of missing eighteen-year-old Ruth Cruger, Grace and her partner, the hard-boiled detective Julius J. Kron, navigated a dangerous web of secret boyfriends, two-faced cops, underground tunnels, rumors of white slavery, and a mysterious pale man, in a desperate race against time.

Brad Ricca's Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is the first-ever narrative biography of this singular woman the press nicknamed after fiction's greatest detective. Her poignant story reveals important clues about missing girls, the media, and the real truth of crime stories.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is a nominee for the 2018 Edgar Awards for Best Fact Crime.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781250072245
Branch Call Number: 362.829765097 RIC


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AndreaG_KCMO Apr 22, 2020

This non-fiction work based on the career of lawyer/detective/police affiliate Grace Humiston shares the tone and pacing of much true crime biography but with a refreshing point of view. The third-person narration was effective for exploring many people intertwined in the cases--Grace, her associates, clients, suspects, politicians, police, activists, and more. Her investigations on behalf of immigrants, working families, missing girls, and death row inmates at the time of the First World War kept me interested through the final, less victorious period of Grace's life.

Nov 21, 2019

This book had so much potential, but unfortunately it wasn’t realized. A lot of the topics covered were applicable to today: gender equality, immigration, human trafficking, etc. but I don’t think the author was able to carry it off. The writing isn’t very good, and that was a surprise, considering the author was a former Ohioana book award winner.

Jan 29, 2018

Fascinating story but SO poorly written!

A true story about the struggle of Mrs. Grace Humiston, a detective, and lawyer of the People’s Law Firm who has decided to help all those who cannot afford justice.
The woman in black gives us an overview of the lifestyle and the dark history of New York during the World War I. While doing her everyday work in the People’s Law Firm, she becomes aware of the suspicious disappearance of an eighteen-year-old teenager named Ruth Cruger in 1917. When everyone, including the police, thinks that she has eloped with Alfredo Cocchi, a motorcycle shop’s owner who leaves for Italy three days after her disappearance, Grace assures that this case is more complicated that it appears. Her determination on solving this case of simple appearance leads her to walk a path that includes a wide network of kidnapping, murder, and white slave trafficking.
It’s interesting to see the challenging work of Grace Humiston, the first one to assist the New York University. This woman proved to be a capable and dedicated justice fighter even though she had minimal support from the society.
This is a book that does not allow the reader time to think and guess about the outcome of the events. There are stories within the main story whose plots and settings differ from each other, but at the same time, they are interconnected with the main story.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a patient reader and who likes the constant change of plot. Also, in order to enjoy the story, one needs to be mature and able to understand the human nature because this book painfully touches some of the darkest aspect of our society including murder and slave trafficking.

Apr 24, 2017

I really wanted to like this book, but it just kinda went nowhere. She did a ton of great work, but the cases covered in the book are a bit jumbled together and there wasn't much done to talk about what impact those cases had - were new laws written? Later in her career she made a claim about girls being killed, but it made no sense. She had based her work on facts and following the facts, but here, out of the blue she made a very serious charge, but there were no facts. Why did she make the claim? Nothing was put forward in the book about what might have motivated her. And then the last part of her life is covered in a handful of pages. Yes, she did largely stop working so there wasn't much to write about, but it still didn't feel exactly right to end it that way. Not a horrible book by any means, it was interesting. Just felt kinda half done.

Mar 27, 2017

What a great Read! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mrs Sherlock Holmes. I was not able to finish it but I cannot wait to get another crack at this True life story. Grace is a amazing women, who goes beyond her status to seek justice for the poor and marginalized.


Mar 22, 2017

This true crime story has considerable potential, which it unfortunately squanders. Ricca admits he couldn't find a great deal of primary information on Grace Humiston; most of his book is based on newspaper accounts of the multiple crimes he details. His main focus is on the 1917 disappearance of Ruth Cruger, an 18 year old New Yorker who doesn't return from an errand, and the many failures of the police to solve the case. Grace, on the other hand, has theories, which she follows to the correct answer. Since it includes police corruption, her reputation suffers. Grace is one of very few women lawyers, a gives up her position in high society to follow her passion to see justice for poor immigrants. While some of the other cases are interesting, they seem padding to make the book long enough. They also appear to be one reason that Grace's history has been forgotten. This is a shame, because the time period in New York and the other places her life takes her is a very interesting one that most Americans don't know a lot about. We're hung up on WW I, going on at the same time.

Mar 22, 2017

2014 Ohioana Book Award and Cleveland Arts Prize winner Brad Ricca introduces readers to the amazing Grace Humiston. A woman attorney who, before women got the right to vote in America, started a legal-aid society in NYC, served as the first female U.S. District Attorney, and, as a detective solved the sensational case of the missing 18-year-old Ruth Cruger. This true-life mystery has amazing parallels to contemporary issues : immigration, human trafficking, peonage, and gender equality. I highly recommend this book for high school curriculum, especially for schools using the Facing History high school format.

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