Fascinating story but SO poorly written!
This true story of the first US District Attorney Grace Humiston had all the ingredients for a nail biter but in parts did get confusing. This book skipped through her different cases at various points of time and I suspect this was because the author simply didn't have enough personal material to stay on topic. On searching Grace you immediately find a lack of information outside the newspaper accounts and public records of the day. I believe on her death she instructed all personal papers and information about her to be destroyed. Brad Ricca did an amazing job with what information he had and he certainly portrayed her spirit and determination in a realistic way. What a highly complex and interesting woman and I can't imagine how terrible her treatment was at the hands of the politicians and the police of the day. I must admit to getting lost with her missing girls theory as possibly she did towards the end. Her empathy for people of limited means, immigrants and the poor has certainly captured my heart reading this book. I can't help but think what she would be doing in this time frame were she here now. I really enjoyed this book and feel it's an important story to be told. Bravo Brad Ricca.
A true story about the struggle of Mrs. Grace Humiston, a detective, and lawyer of the People’s Law Firm who has decided to help all those who cannot afford justice.
The woman in black gives us an overview of the lifestyle and the dark history of New York during the World War I. While doing her everyday work in the People’s Law Firm, she becomes aware of the suspicious disappearance of an eighteen-year-old teenager named Ruth Cruger in 1917. When everyone, including the police, thinks that she has eloped with Alfredo Cocchi, a motorcycle shop’s owner who leaves for Italy three days after her disappearance, Grace assures that this case is more complicated that it appears. Her determination on solving this case of simple appearance leads her to walk a path that includes a wide network of kidnapping, murder, and white slave trafficking.
It’s interesting to see the challenging work of Grace Humiston, the first one to assist the New York University. This woman proved to be a capable and dedicated justice fighter even though she had minimal support from the society.
This is a book that does not allow the reader time to think and guess about the outcome of the events. There are stories within the main story whose plots and settings differ from each other, but at the same time, they are interconnected with the main story.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a patient reader and who likes the constant change of plot. Also, in order to enjoy the story, one needs to be mature and able to understand the human nature because this book painfully touches some of the darkest aspect of our society including murder and slave trafficking.
I really wanted to like this book, but it just kinda went nowhere. She did a ton of great work, but the cases covered in the book are a bit jumbled together and there wasn't much done to talk about what impact those cases had - were new laws written? Later in her career she made a claim about girls being killed, but it made no sense. She had based her work on facts and following the facts, but here, out of the blue she made a very serious charge, but there were no facts. Why did she make the claim? Nothing was put forward in the book about what might have motivated her. And then the last part of her life is covered in a handful of pages. Yes, she did largely stop working so there wasn't much to write about, but it still didn't feel exactly right to end it that way. Not a horrible book by any means, it was interesting. Just felt kinda half done.
What a great Read! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mrs Sherlock Holmes. I was not able to finish it but I cannot wait to get another crack at this True life story. Grace is a amazing women, who goes beyond her status to seek justice for the poor and marginalized.
This true crime story has considerable potential, which it unfortunately squanders. Ricca admits he couldn't find a great deal of primary information on Grace Humiston; most of his book is based on newspaper accounts of the multiple crimes he details. His main focus is on the 1917 disappearance of Ruth Cruger, an 18 year old New Yorker who doesn't return from an errand, and the many failures of the police to solve the case. Grace, on the other hand, has theories, which she follows to the correct answer. Since it includes police corruption, her reputation suffers. Grace is one of very few women lawyers, a gives up her position in high society to follow her passion to see justice for poor immigrants. While some of the other cases are interesting, they seem padding to make the book long enough. They also appear to be one reason that Grace's history has been forgotten. This is a shame, because the time period in New York and the other places her life takes her is a very interesting one that most Americans don't know a lot about. We're hung up on WW I, going on at the same time.
2014 Ohioana Book Award and Cleveland Arts Prize winner Brad Ricca introduces readers to the amazing Grace Humiston. A woman attorney who, before women got the right to vote in America, started a legal-aid society in NYC, served as the first female U.S. District Attorney, and, as a detective solved the sensational case of the missing 18-year-old Ruth Cruger. This true-life mystery has amazing parallels to contemporary issues : immigration, human trafficking, peonage, and gender equality. I highly recommend this book for high school curriculum, especially for schools using the Facing History high school format. https://www.facinghistory.org/about-us
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