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 — all 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?
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR MRS. SHERLOCK HOLMES
“An express train of a story…Rapid, compelling storytelling informed by rigorous research and enlivened by fecund imagination.” ―Starred review, Kirkus Review
“A fascinating account of Grace Humiston, a pioneering attorney in the early 20th century…Her incredible life story, superbly portrayed by Ricca, is more proof that truth is stranger than fiction.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“Brad Ricca’s spellbinding nonfiction account of the disappearance and murder of a young woman ranks right up there with the most absorbing mystery novels. Set against a background of early 20th century New York, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes exposes police indifference, newspaper sensationalism and sexist attitudes. A first-rate story.” ―Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Midwife
In Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, Brad Ricca paints the picture of Grace Humiston, a soft-spoken yet persistent woman investigator determined to solve the disappearance of an 18-year-old girl―this in the midst of both the suffragist and white-slavery movements. Where the police leave off, Humiston, undaunted by naysayers, picks up clues and doggedly follows them. Ricca lays out this fascinating whodunit with a novelist’s skill, making Mrs. Sherlock Holmes a suspenseful winner.” ―Cathy Scott, award-winning journalist and Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Murder of a Mafia Daughter
ALSO FROM BRAD RICCA