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★
Recipient of the Kirkus Star, Awarded to Books of Exceptional Merit

"An express train of a story...Rapid, compelling storytelling informed by rigorous research and enlivened by fecund imagination." -Kirkus Reviews

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes
tells the true story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the detective and lawyer who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation's greatest crime fighters during an era when women weren't even allowed to vote. After graduating from N.Y.U. law school, Grace opened a legal clinic in the city for low-income immigrant clients, and quickly established a reputation as a fierce, but fair lawyer who was always on the side of the disenfranchised.

Grace's motto "Justice for those of limited means" led her to strange cases all over the city, and eventually the world. From defending an innocent giant on death row to investigating an island in Arkansas with a terrible secret about slavery; from the warring halls of Congress to a crumbling medieval tower in Italy, Grace solved crimes in-between shopping at Bergdorf Goodman and being marked for death by the sinister Black Hand. She defended a young wife who shot her would-be rapist and fought the framing of a Baltimore black man at the mercy of a corrupt police department. Known for dressing only in black, Grace was appointed the first woman U.S. district attorney in history. And when a pretty 18-year-old girl named Ruth Cruger went missing on Valentine's Day in New York, Grace took the case after the police gave up. Grace and her partner, the hard-boiled Hungarian detective Julius J. Kron, navigated a dangerous mystery of secret boyfriends, two-faced cops,underground tunnels, rumors of white slavery, and a mysterious pale man-- in a desperate race against time to save Ruth. When she solved the crime, she was made the first female consulting detective to the NYPD.

But despite her many successes in social and criminal justice, Grace began to see chilling connections in the cases she had solved, leading to a final showdown with her most fearsome adversary of all and one of the most powerful men of the twentieth century.

This is the first-ever literary biography of the singular woman the press nicknamed after fiction's greatest detective. In the narrative tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, her poignant story unmasks unmistakable connections between missing girls,the role of the media, and the real truth of crime stories. The great mystery of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes -- and its haunting twist ending -- is how could one woman with so much power disappear so completely?



About the Author

Brad Ricca

Every Wednesday, where I live in Cleveland, we get a coupon circular that gets stuffed in the mailbox. Printed in color, it is filled with advertisements for stuff like frozen spinach and custom address labels. But the last panel on the back page always has a small photograph of a young person, usually a girl, along with the date she went missing. Sometimes there is an awful "computer-aged" version next to it. When I see these photos, I wonder why this is something we just accept every week with our bills and greeting cards. When did missing girls become something we saw as something to consume? When did this phenomenon become so digestible to us? These were the issues -- missing girls, the media, and even the role of the police -- that I wanted to get into. I was researching white slavery and the Black Hand by reading old New York newspapers. That's when I turned the page (ok, clicked the mouse) and saw an article titled "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes" from 1917. As I read more, I found out that while I was worrying about this problem for a few minutes every Wednesday, Grace had devoted her whole life to it, at great risk. We have obviously not solved these issues in the present, so maybe we could learn something from Grace's forgotten story? That, and she was a tough-as-nails detective who only wore black, worked for free, and stood up to all types of authority, including cops, the Army, corrupt plantation owners, and even a President.

I quickly read what was out there, but wanted to know more. So I decided to write about her.

But there were other mysteries here, too. Who was Grace Humiston and why are there almost no primary sources about her? What was the role of the media in shaping her story and life? Was it a coincidence that her popularity was at the advent of the true crime phenomenon? Was this all connected? I knew that to tell her story in a way that was genuine, I would have to treat her like a missing person herself. My hope is that readers approach my version of her story, and of her greatest, almost unbelievable case, just as she did. When Grace took a case, she used the experiences of her past to help solve the present problem at hand. Just like any master detective would.

Because, at the end, I found that her greatest case might have been older, and deeper, than anyone could have guessed.

For more, visit www.brad-ricca.com

Brad Ricca is the author of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation (St. Martin's, 2017) . He is also the author of Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster - The Creators of Superman (St. Martin's, 2013) , the first literary biography of the two creators of Superman, the world's most iconic superhero. The book won the 2014 Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction and was named a Top 10 Book on th



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