About this item

Mrs. Grace Humiston was an amazing lawyer and a traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing those professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. The first female U.S. District Attorney, she made groundbreaking investigations into modern-day slavery, and the papers gave her the nickname of fiction's famous sleuth. One of her greatest accomplishments was solving the cold case of a missing eighteen-year-old girl, Ruth Cruger. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls, but it came with a price: 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, this true-crime tale is told in spine-tingling fashion and has important repercussions concerning kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories.



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



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