I’m so far behind in my review posts!! This topic was another broad one that spans any genre and time period. It was my mom’s pick again.
A book about an interesting woman – Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca
In the early 1900s, detectives were all the rage with the Sherlock Holmes novels just being published and real life detective hitting the streets. In New York City, the police force is in early infancy with a new, young commissioner at the helm when Ruth Cruger goes missing after leaving her family home to go ice skating, a task she did frequently. This time, however, Ruth does not come home and her father contacts every investigator he can find to locate her. The press becomes involved and the entire city is on high alert for the missing young lady.
Grace Humiston is a prominent female lawyer in New York City taking on the hopeless cases, those of the poor and those of the down trodden. Her storied career took her into the peonage cases of the farms of the deep south working with the US President to take down the system. Upon completion of this task, left somewhat unfinished, she picks up the case of a man on death row which drains her energy until she return to New York to find herself thrown into the case of the missing girl consumed by the fact that something was missing and she was the one who could find it.
The novel tells the real life story of a female lawyer in New York city in the early to mid 1900s. By all accounts she was a tenacious woman who refused to take no for an answer and worked hard for those she felt needed it most. She took no money for the majority of her cases and worked hard to equal the playing field having noted early on that those who could not read or write were easily taken advantage of in the system.
The book itself is a little confusing in how it is laid out. It begins with the disappearance of Ruth Cruger which occurs in 1917 and then back tracks the next chapter to Grace’s graduation from law school 10 years earlier. It continues along this path until the two story lines converge with Grace taking on the Cruger case. The book comes across as very disjointed since the main focus is Grace, however the Ruth case itself takes up more of the book. By the time Grace joins the case, I felt uninterested in much of it having spent so much time reading about her travels in the South to bring down the peonage system of keeping farmers in constant and impossible to overcome debt that now shifting to a lost girl seems to pale in comparison to her accomplishments in the South. Also, since every case presented is figured out by the magnificent Grace, when she takes on the Ruth case it is nearly predictable what the outcome will be.
I found myself disengaged from the book throughout most of it and hoping it would get to the point which is a shame since Grace has a very interesting story to tell about her life.