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

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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 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.


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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 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phair

    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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    In the era before women could vote, an extraordinary detective and lawyer was solving crimes the police couldn't and defending those who couldn't afford it. Her name was Grace Humiston and this is her story. Grace was admitted to the bar in the state of New York in 1905, becoming one of only a thousand female lawyers in the whole United States. pg 29 Readers, this lady was incredible. Though she fell out of public favor later in her career, Grace accomplished so much. She was the first woman to be In the era before women could vote, an extraordinary detective and lawyer was solving crimes the police couldn't and defending those who couldn't afford it. Her name was Grace Humiston and this is her story. Grace was admitted to the bar in the state of New York in 1905, becoming one of only a thousand female lawyers in the whole United States. pg 29 Readers, this lady was incredible. Though she fell out of public favor later in her career, Grace accomplished so much. She was the first woman to become a consulting detective for the New York Police Department. They formed a missing persons bureau because of her work to reform how they searched for victims of crimes. Grace was even the first woman to serve as a Special Assistant U.S. District Attorney. She brought down businesses that were abusing immigrants through peonage practices. I'm telling you, this lady was hardcore. The case that catapulted her into the limelight was the disappearance of Ruth Cruger, a teenager who went to get her ice skates sharpened in New York City and never returned. Her family insisted Ruth wouldn't have run away, as the authorities suggested when they reported her disappearance. "My girl has been kidnapped," Henry said to the reporters. "This talk about her having gone away voluntarily is an unwarranted insult to her and to us. It is nothing more than a screen for police shirking." pg 47 So who did he call? Grace Humiston. When a reporter asked about how she had solved the case so quickly after the police had given up, Grace did not couch her words. "To begin with, the police are no good," Grace told the reporter. "They had all the facts to start on that I had and did nothing." pg 71 Savage. The facts of this story merit a five-star rating but how they are organized brought down my rating of this book. Brad Ricca opens with the Ruth Cruger case and puts chapters inbetween detailing Grace's history. It disturbs the flow of the story. I think if he had gone from an opening, gripping chapter about Ruth into a chronologically organized history, I may have enjoyed it more. Another gripe some readers had with Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is that it had an unsatisfying conclusion. I'm not of that opinion. Often, life doesn't end stories with a bowtie or an ending worthy of their beginning. In non-fiction, especially when careers rise and then fall as in this book, there isn't a satisfying ending to be had. I enjoyed learning about this extraordinary lady and I appreciate the level of research Ricca put into these pages. One can feel, especially in the conclusion, how this was a labor of love for him. Not just to bring Grace back into the public's mind and heart, but also to remind readers about how people still go missing today and, sometimes, they're never found. I wanted to reprint all the people gone missing in the last year here, at the end, but it would not have been 'cost effective', they told me, even in the smallest type. So think of one name for me. Maybe it is someone you know. Or someone you saw on a show or a flier once. Or maybe it is your name, or a name you once had. Whoever it is, write that name here.... pgs 362-363 We are solving more and more cold cases with the advent of DNA databases. Perhaps some day this issue will be a thing of the past. Until then, we'll rely on the Graces of today to lead us, clue by clue, to wherever the trail ends.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Pilley

    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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lauralyrics

    Someone called this book a "bait-and-switch", and they're absolutely correct. The story itself was absorbing, but the writing was childish--I felt at certain points as though I was reading a picture book for adults--and the book really has very little to do with Sherlock Holmes apart from the introduction, which felt tacked on. This wasn't a particularly good biography and the missing girl case was only a part of the book's focus. I can't honestly recommend this to anyone.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Brannan

    The truth about Grace Humiston is in there somewhere, hidden amid a jumbled farrago of facts, half-truths and innuendo. There's lots of focus on the cases she undertook, very little on the woman herself, which is a shame, she's a great subject. Here's a woman who was brave, tenacious, smart and ready to challenge authority and prejudice wherever it was met. In the telling, veracity is sacrificed to readability - it's more crime novel than fact-gathering non-fiction. The author states the book's The truth about Grace Humiston is in there somewhere, hidden amid a jumbled farrago of facts, half-truths and innuendo. There's lots of focus on the cases she undertook, very little on the woman herself, which is a shame, she's a great subject. Here's a woman who was brave, tenacious, smart and ready to challenge authority and prejudice wherever it was met. In the telling, veracity is sacrificed to readability - it's more crime novel than fact-gathering non-fiction. The author states the book's sources extend across newspaper articles, government reports, court documents, magazine exposes, muckraking stories, gossip and deduction. The sum total amounts only to a hollow, one-dimensional picture of "the woman in black". There are too many gaps in her background and too little context of the politics and police work of the period to feel any acquaintance with "Mrs Sherlock". She remains as elusive as the certainty that justice was truly done in the cases she took on.

  8. 4 out of 5

    joyce g

    Remarkable and inventive factual story of an amazing woman ahead of her time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Grace Humiston was for a time known as "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes," a detective who had risen to near the top of the U.S. Department of Justice in the early 1900s, shone light on slavery rings and was a near-constant newspaper presence as she shamed the NYPD in her resolution of the nationally notorious disappearance of a young woman from the streets of Manhattan. Brad Ricca here dives deep in telling her story – too deep at times, as he spends pages faithfully transcribing tangentially related detai Grace Humiston was for a time known as "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes," a detective who had risen to near the top of the U.S. Department of Justice in the early 1900s, shone light on slavery rings and was a near-constant newspaper presence as she shamed the NYPD in her resolution of the nationally notorious disappearance of a young woman from the streets of Manhattan. Brad Ricca here dives deep in telling her story – too deep at times, as he spends pages faithfully transcribing tangentially related details and conversations – and it's a story well worth telling. Unfortunately, a taut and impressive first half devolves into a confusing and frustrating read. No doubt, some of that confusion is a result of the historical record itself – the usual suspects, including carelessness and fires, combined to wipe out many of the primary sources one would rely on to tell this kind of story – but no small amount is Ricca's meandering, even jumpy, narrative style. One example that I found especially aggravating, and stands in for numerous other, smaller offenses: Grace Humiston was married twice, and we don't learn this fact until an odd afterword that essentially dumps all of the information about every character who previously appeared in the book, but which wouldn't fit within the narrative itself. The result is that Grace's last name changes without comment in the middle of the narrative, and unsurprisingly leads the reader to spend some time in confusion, wondering whether this new Grace is the same as the old Grace, or happens to be a different detective who happens to be named Grace. A similar complaint is that Ricca seems allergic to informed speculation or extrapolation. Although he frequently reconstructs scenes with assumed reactions (people in conversations frequently make gestures and facial expressions that appear to simply be assumptions based on the text of the dialogue itself), Ricca relies so heavily on the reported content that he leaves unexplained gaping holes into which the reader falls (when searching for a missing girl in what is one of the key scenes of the story, a detective leads a dig through a coal vault into a cellar, but despite reading through the that section twice, I have no idea how or when they got from one to the other), or does not attempt to explain, for example, why Humiston insisted, to the detriment of her public credibility, that thousands of girls and young women were being abducted and trafficked in New York despite all evidence and data to the contrary? Was she deluded? Misguided? The woman who alone had truly grasped the scope of the scandal? Ricca never even asks the questions, much less attempt an answer. Adding to the frustration of reading a book that began with such promise and includes some truly fascinating pieces of history about which I was unaware was a paucity of photos and a complete absence of maps, despite pictures being described in the text and a heavy reliance on various street names and addresses in Manhattan, as well as the floor plan of a specific building. Like I said, there's a lot of good stuff here, but the overall effect was to make me wish it had been placed in the service of a voice that was more self-assured, and more meticulous. The confidence to make educated guesses, with the attention to the right kinds of detail that would have aided the reader, would have made Mrs. Sherlock Holmes a really terrific book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Although it was evident to me from the beginning that this book was very well researched, I felt annoyed with the author in the first pages because of his style to tell the story. Ricca knows incredibly well the topic of his book. He "sees" the scene going on in front of his eyes, and his style is in part to describe this scene to the reader. Then the reader will find many observations like these (no spoilers): "Christina coughed, steaming up the window again." "His voice seemed like it was start Although it was evident to me from the beginning that this book was very well researched, I felt annoyed with the author in the first pages because of his style to tell the story. Ricca knows incredibly well the topic of his book. He "sees" the scene going on in front of his eyes, and his style is in part to describe this scene to the reader. Then the reader will find many observations like these (no spoilers): "Christina coughed, steaming up the window again." "His voice seemed like it was starting and stopping as he figured out the right words." "As the train clacked forward, Kron absently read the ads for folding Brownie cameras and refreshing Coca-Cola" When you check his sources you understand he is not using information from diaries or personal letters, but painting the picture for the reader. I got annoyed and stopped reading the book for a couple of days, trying to decide if I would read o give up on it. This kind of things make me doubt the content of the book, I can't help it. But Grace Humiston's story is so fascinating, that I decided to give Ricca a chance. And I am glad I did it. Now that I finished the book I can say that I clearly know what are facts and what is Ricca's picture, since it is not confusing at all. It is definitively his style, he is not trying to cheat the reader, but bring NYC and its characters into life. He says it himself once you reach the end of the Author's Note at the end of the book: "And while the larger events here have been investigated and presented as truth, there are still connections that had to be imagined-small gestures, moments, and emotions-that are laid over an infrastructure of facts. This is a story about real people, not just their vital statistics". And about Grace Humiston... what I could say? She was an amazing woman. I am happy someone decided to tell her story. I wonder how many other characters like her remain still hidden.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I skimmed a fair amount when it became repetitive or seemed purposeless. With more editing this might have been better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luci

    A really interesting book about a brilliant woman ahead of her time. This book is part about a woman called Grace Humiston and part a story about a missing young female skater Ruth Cruger. This book is their story. I really liked the way the author has written this book. It tells about Grace Humiston professional life and how she came to be known as Mrs.Sherlock Holmes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diabolica

    It's been a long journey. Four months Err.. 2 and a half really. It was an extremely well-researched novel. Even though the author likely did use his imagination at some points to fill in the blanks. The story-telling was pretty good. I was a little confused in the beginning given how it kept going back and forth. But it got better by the middle but then my interest declined towards the end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beth Hutfilz

    I could not finish this book. The premise sounded fantastic (I am a huge Sherlock fan!) but the story line seemed to jump around, and it was just too difficult to read! I was vastly disappointed!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    DNF for me. I don't like the switch back from 1905 to 1917. I don't get why the Cruger case is being highlighted in excruciating detail - other things she's done sound more interesting. I can't even follow which name she's using, & in which time period. Perhaps I'll revisit this, but right now it's not for me. DNF for me. I don't like the switch back from 1905 to 1917. I don't get why the Cruger case is being highlighted in excruciating detail - other things she's done sound more interesting. I can't even follow which name she's using, & in which time period. Perhaps I'll revisit this, but right now it's not for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    $14.99 for an e-book? Publishers have lost their minds. No wonder their e-book sales tank when they set their prices so unrealistically high for an digital copy. It's almost like they don't want them to sell. Or, they think consumers are idiots.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    I enjoyed the story of the impressive MC in this story, Mrs. Grace Humiston. She was an exceptional woman, as a detective and a lawyer and the first woman U.S. district attorney in history. She fought corruption at every turn, fought for women's rights and investigated white slavery.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    Really enjoyed this real life crime book. Fascinating story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alexw

    A fun paced book about a lady who solved a crime through sheer determination in 1917. I liked the book despite the hero worship of the author who gave a scant account of her 2 divorces.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martin L. Cahn

    Absolutely fascinating story. I can't quite give it a full 5 stars -- in fact, it might really be more like a 3.75 -- but only because of a few quibbles. First, the good: If you're looking for a mix of biography and true crime, this is an excellent book, reading more like a novel than an historical account. Because of that, I see some people have given lower ratings feeling as though the author has "cheated" somehow. I'll just say I do not feel that way. As for my quibbles, they center on two thin Absolutely fascinating story. I can't quite give it a full 5 stars -- in fact, it might really be more like a 3.75 -- but only because of a few quibbles. First, the good: If you're looking for a mix of biography and true crime, this is an excellent book, reading more like a novel than an historical account. Because of that, I see some people have given lower ratings feeling as though the author has "cheated" somehow. I'll just say I do not feel that way. As for my quibbles, they center on two things. 1) It seems to me as though the question of the central mystery -- what happened to Ruth Cruger -- wrapped much sooner than I expected even though there were definitely threads left loose to tie of closer to or at the end. This then leads to 2) where the book focuses on some other cases Grace was involved in that aren't quite as notable. Still, not having read non-fiction in ages, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book is just excellent. I learned about Grace Humiston through the TV show "Timeless" and wanted to find out more about her. I learned so much from this book! I really recommend it! If you normally read non-fiction, you'll love it, but even people who don't read non-fiction would like this book -- it really sucks you in and you'll feel like you are reading a novel. There are so many fascinating stories about Grace's life and career, it's truly amazing all the things she accomplished with he This book is just excellent. I learned about Grace Humiston through the TV show "Timeless" and wanted to find out more about her. I learned so much from this book! I really recommend it! If you normally read non-fiction, you'll love it, but even people who don't read non-fiction would like this book -- it really sucks you in and you'll feel like you are reading a novel. There are so many fascinating stories about Grace's life and career, it's truly amazing all the things she accomplished with her life. Thank you, Brad Ricca, for this informative and truly entertaining book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Skyluv

    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...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I don't know what I was expecting going into this book but it was most definitely not what I was reading!! I thought this would be more crime based and told a true story of a woman getting ahead in a mans world by solving murders. But this lost my interest fast!!! It has a great promise and could have went way better than it did. Just the thought of a woman back in the 1800s doing a job better than a man can is a great way to snag a lady's attention. Back in them days woman held their tongue and I don't know what I was expecting going into this book but it was most definitely not what I was reading!! I thought this would be more crime based and told a true story of a woman getting ahead in a mans world by solving murders. But this lost my interest fast!!! It has a great promise and could have went way better than it did. Just the thought of a woman back in the 1800s doing a job better than a man can is a great way to snag a lady's attention. Back in them days woman held their tongue and didn't dare to try and out do a man in anything but being a house wife and mother. I bought this book hoping also it would be more like a Sherlock Holmes read but nope failed again! And I may not have given it enough time to really get me but 60 pages and I was just blah blah blah... literally skimming trying to find something to grasp my attention. Maybe it was the timing with me reading other books I may try again I don't know. But for the time being this one is going on my bookshelf.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    This was a really absorbing read about one of the first woman attorneys in the country who went on to do detective work and influenced public policy. Her passion was always what we now call human trafficking. This massive book was painstakingly reconstructed from old newspaper accounts, newsreels and so forth, bringing to life a woman who would have been utterly forgotten otherwise. I finished it just as Women's History Month was starting; how perfect is that?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie

    I first heard about Mary Grace Quackenbos aka Grace Humsiton in the tv show Timeless. Since the episode called Mrs. Sherlock Holmes was one of my favourites in season two, after I joined the Timeless inspired book club (Lucy Preston Literary Society) on Goodreads it was no question that Brad Ricca's Mrs Sherlock Holmes would be my first read within the community. Grace Humiston was the first female U.S. district attorney. He worked as a lawyer and detective in the beginning of the 20th century. S I first heard about Mary Grace Quackenbos aka Grace Humsiton in the tv show Timeless. Since the episode called Mrs. Sherlock Holmes was one of my favourites in season two, after I joined the Timeless inspired book club (Lucy Preston Literary Society) on Goodreads it was no question that Brad Ricca's Mrs Sherlock Holmes would be my first read within the community. Grace Humiston was the first female U.S. district attorney. He worked as a lawyer and detective in the beginning of the 20th century. She became famous for finding the body of a young woman – Ruth Cruger – who had disappeared one chilly winter morning in mysterious circumstances. In truth there is so much more to the story of Grace than the Ruth Cruger case. Brad Ricca guides the reader through her most important cases in his book, keeping the reader at the edge of their seat with his captivating narrative. While I think the detailed recount of Mrs Humiston's career was extremely fascinating, Mr. Ricca also managed to capture Grace's personality on the pages; he depicted the woman behind the detective persona. She came across as a kind-hearted individual, who didn't only care for the thrill of the chase; the people behind each story and their right to be judged justly was just as important to her. She was always determined and confident in her abilities, she was a strong woman through and through. The New York of her time was vibrant and colourful, and I could imagine being there myself as I read this book. Its people were still learning how to accept the idea of their city being a giant melting pot and tensions were running high sometimes. I enjoyed the chapter where cases involving the 'little people' were described; Grace helped the poor by giving legal advice, sometimes completely for free. She fought for immigrant rights and she stood against white slavery. She took on many cases that involved missing girls. She was also against death penalty and she saved a couple of innocent people from the electric chair. The Charles Stielow case was perhaps my favourite of those stories. The chapter 'The Giant and the Chair' was by far the best in the book, I couldn't put my kindle down until I got to the end of it. It was so gripping, I found myself caring for the outcome as much as Grace and her associates did. As a Hungarian girl I felt really proud that Grace's right-hand man was also Hungarian. Grace and Julius J. Kron were partners for life when it came to fighting crime. If anyone, Kron was her Watson. It was great to get glimpses at how they operated, they were a dynamic duo. After a while they must have been able to read each other's thoughts, they worked so much together. Brad Ricca's writing is quality. It flows really well and somehow he's able to make you forget that a lot of information is being dumped on you along the way; I was able to absorb all the info and enjoy the stories while I learned about the work of an fascinating historical figure. I cannot recommend Mrs Sherlock Holmes highly enough. If you like reading about women pioneers as much as I do, this book will be a treat for you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    This was an excellent read--Ricca has a talent for brining history to life (I hope he writes more books like this). It was so interesting to read Grace's story. It's rare to read about an accomplished woman from this era. The part about the soldiers camp was a little baffling, but I guess that's the reality of Grace's career going downhill.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    This is the true story of Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston the first female Special Assistant United States Attorney. She graduated law school when women did not generally attend and set about helping the impoverished especially the immigrants in her community get a fair shake from the law. Her most famous case was the disappearance of Ruth Cruger in 1917. Police searched the basement of Alfredo Cocchi and found nothing which caused the case to grow cold. When Grace found a way to search the basem This is the true story of Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston the first female Special Assistant United States Attorney. She graduated law school when women did not generally attend and set about helping the impoverished especially the immigrants in her community get a fair shake from the law. Her most famous case was the disappearance of Ruth Cruger in 1917. Police searched the basement of Alfredo Cocchi and found nothing which caused the case to grow cold. When Grace found a way to search the basement again and Ruth's body was discovered she made enemies of the embarrassed police force. This was an interesting look at a remarkable woman who was ahead of her time. She was able to get the innocent freed during a time when the poor could not get justice. The book does a good job of presenting the context for the time in which Grace lived. The book did drag in a few places especially towards Grace's later years. Overall however I enjoyed reading about some of Grace's more notable exploits. This book will be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of history and true crime.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McPhedran

    Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston was a real badass. She was a lawyer and investigator in New York City during the early twentieth century. She worked tirelessly for the poor immigrants of New York, and investigated white slavery in the deep south. She is most widely known for her investigation into the death of Ruth Cruger, who disappeared one February afternoon after getting her skates sharpened at a local motorcycle shop. Grace was the one who found the body, almost 6 months after Cruger's disap Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston was a real badass. She was a lawyer and investigator in New York City during the early twentieth century. She worked tirelessly for the poor immigrants of New York, and investigated white slavery in the deep south. She is most widely known for her investigation into the death of Ruth Cruger, who disappeared one February afternoon after getting her skates sharpened at a local motorcycle shop. Grace was the one who found the body, almost 6 months after Cruger's disappearance. Her name was soon all through the papers. This led to a working relationship with some of the New York police force, but not everyone was happy that a woman was questioning the effectiveness of the NYPD. There were formal inquests, and that left a sour taste in the mouths of some of the men higher up within the police force. Grace was soon thrust into scandal, and her name was defamed. She was investigating an allegation in one of the military bases, and got under the skin of some of the men in charge. Even though she wasn't as popular as she once was, she was consistently working for the poor and underprivileged. She was an advocate for the lost women of New York City, and tried to give women a place to go to keep them off the streets. Let me start by saying, I finished this book, because I can't not finish a book (if that makes sense). I feel like I had an obligation to finish, despite the writing. Don't get me wrong, I loved the history of Ms. Humiston. I think she was probably a totally awesome woman, who was compared to the famous Sherlock Holmes in her investigative skills. I wish the book was better organized. I felt like it kept jumping all over the place in her life, and focused a lot on some of the men she encountered in her career. Write a whole book about her! She was awesome! Give me more stories about her exploits with her first in command, Julius Kron!

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