A gruesome murder, a stunned city, and Edgar Allan Poe come to life with vivid detail in this shocking true story by award-winning author Daniel Stashower
On July 28, 1841, the battered body of a young woman was found floating in the Hudson River. It was soon discovered to be the lovely Mary Rogers, a twenty-year-old cigar salesgirl who had gone missing three days earlier. By nightfall, news of the girl’s death had spread and sent Manhattan into a spasm of horror and outrage.
In the months that followed, the gruesome details of the murder pushed American journalism into previously unimagined realms of lurid sensationalism. But despite media pressures, New York City’s unregulated and disjointed police force proved unable to mount an effective investigation, and the crime remained unsolved.
A year after Mary Rogers was murdered, as public interest in the case began to wane, a struggling writer named Edgar Allan Poe decided to take on the case. At the time of the murder, thirty-one-year-old Poe had recently published his groundbreaking detective story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." A year later, however, his fortunes had taken a downward turn. Desperate for success, Poe sent his famous detective, C. Auguste Dupin, on the case of a lifetime: to solve the baffling murder of Mary Rogers in "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt."
In The Beautiful Cigar Girl, Edgar Award-winning author Daniel Stashower deftly captures the drama and mystery of New York in the mid-nineteenth century, illuminating the spellbinding crime that transformed a city.
A Featured Alternate selection of Book-of-the-Month Club, Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, Doubleday and Quality Paperback book clubs.
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Writing simultaneously as novelist, biographer, historian, and sleuth, Daniel Stashower unfolds a suspenseful detective story inside a detective story inside a detective story.
-Kenneth Silverman, author of Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance
Daniel Stashower masterfully recreates 1840s New York and the murder that captivated the city. If you loved The Devil in the White City, you'll love The Beautiful Cigar Girl. It's an impressive work of history with all the drive and passion of a finely-tuned novel.
" The Beautiful Cigar Girl is a beautiful melding of literary research, biography and creativity. Poe's New York of the 1840's is brought to life and so is Mary Rogers and those whose lives were altered by her murder. Seldom has Poe himself emerged so sympathetically as the tortured, alcoholic, brilliant and enigmatic man he was. After reading this fascinating book, no one will be able to read The Mystery of Marie Roget again without acknowledging the haunting ghosts brought forth by Stashower."
-Stuart M. Kaminsky, recipient of the Mystery Writers of America 2006 Grand Master Award, and author, most recently, of Terror Town
"'Stashower makes the past so vivid you feel as if you must have been there and walked these streets yourself."
-Anne Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Assassin
Daniel Stashower is the author of the highly acclaimed biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, Teller of Tales, which won the Edgar Award for Best Biographical Work. A winner of the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship, in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing, Stashower is also the author of several mystery novels.
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