Towards the end I just wanted it to end. It was a very hard read to finish. I don't recommend. View all 3 comments. Mar 04, Amy Sturgis rated it really liked it Shelves: literary-criticism , us-history , history-of-detectives , poeiana , true-crime , biography.
The Strange Mystery of Mary Rogers and Edgar Allan Poe’s Obsession With Her
Jan 07, Kirsti rated it really liked it Shelves: history , mayhem , mystery , nonfiction. Explanation of how and why Edgar Allan Poe based one of his stories on an actual crime. I am grateful to this author for teaching me the expression "Let's liquor," which he says was in common usage in the s.
No wonder Poe had troubles with alcohol. It's always interesting to learn about the daily lives of people in another time and place. I was surprised that hiring a young, pretty woman to serve as a clerk in a cigar store was considered scandalous, yet one of the bartenders questioned during Explanation of how and why Edgar Allan Poe based one of his stories on an actual crime.
His mother testified on his behalf. Stashower has also written a Conan Doyle bio and several mysteries.
Sep 12, Erin rated it did not like it Shelves: why-did-i-read-this. Sporadically interesting but mostly dull. May 15, Jim rated it really liked it. I picked up this Berkley softback five or six years ago. I bought it brand new for a pricey 21 dollars, and just got around to reading it. It has been sitting safely on one of my bookshelves.
I mention the price and storage because the pages were unbelievably coming right out of the book as I read it. Hopefully Stashower doesn't do anything else with Berkley, because I won't be buying another one of their books. That said, Stashower is a favorite of mine- I've read a few of his and have liked th I picked up this Berkley softback five or six years ago. That said, Stashower is a favorite of mine- I've read a few of his and have liked them all. This little investigation of a murder in and the Edgar Poe short story based on it, was well researched and warmly written. I have read quite a bit of Poe over the years, and was disappointed to find out that he was his own worst enemy, along with the enemy of just about everyone with whom he came in contact.
Still good reading though, and at times hard to put down. If you enjoy mystery, or Poe, or true crime, read the book if you can find it. Just make sure you keep the pages in order after they fall out into your hands. Nov 16, J. However, as evidence was discovered that Rogers may have instead died of a botched abortion, he had to amend his final installment to keep his reputation from being tarnished. Certainly had she been a he, her death would not have caused the stir it did, the story reaching as far as Philadelphia and Baltimore — both cities in which Poe resided.
Stashower shows Poe as his own worst enemy. Despite his genius and a literary legacy that would go unrecognized until after his death at the age of 40, Poe forever portrayed himself a victim of lesser talents and those unable to recognize talent even as he continually sabotaged his own career. Conrad Guest for The Smoking Poet Jan 30, Ashley rated it it was ok.
There are several things I liked about this book, and several that I did not like. I liked the vast amounts of information about life in s New York City. This helped me to envision how the area may have looked as well as the cultural norms. I felt the inclusion of all the newspaper clippings helped to explain how things were reported and why not everything could be taken at face value. The first two-thirds of the book held my attention with the mystery of the death of Mary Rogers, the theori There are several things I liked about this book, and several that I did not like.
The first two-thirds of the book held my attention with the mystery of the death of Mary Rogers, the theories involving her death, and how and why Poe wrote "The Mystery of Marie Roget". The author obviously conducted much research as evidenced by the bibliography at the end of the book. However, there were some points I found lacking. I would have really liked the inclusion of the sources throughout the book instead of just at the end. I also felt that the author did not do much to address the fact that many of the stories of Poe being drunk were told after his death by those who wished to discredit him.
The way these instances are presented lend to the picture of Poe being a drunkard, when really Poe became sick after a drink or two. I feel the author could have done a better job of explaining this, and of explaining that the instances of being intoxicated would have been few and far between. This was my first true crime story. For me, the book had a good pace and was building up to a big reveal that culminated in nothing. The crime was never solved. The last third of the book did not hold my attention as much and became jumbled with what-ifs and might-haves.
The author seems to tentatively offer his theory in the last pages, but even this is not clear. Sep 03, Dakota Rain rated it really liked it. This book was really something. It was information overload in both a good, and slightly bad, way for me. With that, I am thankful the author wrote this book and really thankful I came across it! Everyone was hungry for daily information. I basically knew nothing of the history of newspapers.
I was quite fascinated with this book but I had bumps in the road with the newspaper collisions information overload. Press on, if you get discouraged like me, as you really do want to finish this book. In the end, I want to know what happened to Mary Rogers. I was one of the frenzied consumers. Give me information and give it to me now! Oh, and any information will do under duress, right? Sep 14, Donna rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction.
This famous crime was the subject of many newspaper stories covered extensively by the rabid press of the time. For a long time the resolution of the crime was unsatisfactory. Several years later Poe chronically short of money comes along and writes his story proposing to solve the crime. His account is published in three installments. Just days before the third installment is to be published, new facts in the case come to light. How will Poe respond The book weaves between the literary life of Poe and the actual crime.
I believe it is best to read Poe's story first to see how well you think his detective, Dupin, identifies the clues and deduces the nature and cause of the murder. I found this book a lively addition to my reading of Poe's detective stories. It shows that in some ways Poe was ahead of the police work and certainly the newspapers in understanding the clues and in which direction they pointed.
The story of the "story" is almost as interesting as the story of the crime. Jun 14, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: true-crime , american-history. There have been a spate of historical true crime books written and published in recent years, largely in the wake of the success of Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. All of them seem to claim to be telling the story of 'the murder of the age', 'the most sensational case of its time'; all of them herald the rise of the yellow press, the tabloid sensation, the trial by press. So in light of that, The Beautiful Cigar Girl brings little new to what is rapidly becoming a rather crowded There have been a spate of historical true crime books written and published in recent years, largely in the wake of the success of Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr.
So in light of that, The Beautiful Cigar Girl brings little new to what is rapidly becoming a rather crowded genre. The addition of Edgar Allan Poe brings a little bit of added interest, but the link is somewhat tenuous, since in reality his sole connection is that he wrote a short story about the murder in question.
That said, I really enjoyed this book. As a device to hang a tale on, you could do a lot worse than the life of Edgar Allan Poe and an unsolved murder of a beautiful young girl. It's well-written and moves along at a brisk pace, indicated by the fact that I read all pages in little more than a day. I did find the end somewhat anti-climatic, but Daniel Stashower is no Edgar Allan Poe, and if he couldn't finger the culprit at the time, I can hardly blame the author for not succeeding in unveiling the murderer after more than years!
Aug 18, Susanne rated it liked it Recommends it for: history of literature buffs. Shelves: historical-true-crime. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As has been said before, this book has a fantastic but misleading title. It's not about the invention of murder because: 1 murder was invented long before 2 Poe didn't invent murder - Poe never murdered anybody except perhaps himself 3 Poe is credited with inventing the murder mystery story, but that was with Murder In The Rue Morgue which comes before The Mystery of Marie Roget.
This book is about how Poe wrote The Mystery of Marie Roget based on the real life case of Mary Rogers, the "be As has been said before, this book has a fantastic but misleading title. Back in the day, the "solution" to the case was believed to be that Mary Rogers had been the victim of a botched abortion. I'm thinking "botched" is an understatement, since the person was at the wrong end of her body she was strangled so tightly the cord embedded in her neck, and her face beaten. I would have liked more theories as to what really happened, but the book is more about the literary and journalistic response of the time, and in that it does an excellent job.
Aug 29, Barbara rated it really liked it. I liked this book a lot. First of all, I gained a sincere appreciation for Edgar Allan Poe as a writer. I had always been a bit put off by the subject matter of his stories, so I hadn't had a chance to appreciate his skill as a writer and his intelligence as a person. Secondly, I greatly enjoy reading about historical events as they connect to other persons or events that I may not previously have realized.
Sort of like a non visual timeline :. I wasn't that impressed with the "mystery of the b I liked this book a lot. I wasn't that impressed with the "mystery of the beautiful cigar girl" in it's own right, however the links to the beginning of sensationalist journalism as we know it today, and the vigninettes of New York City in the mid 's more than made up for my lack of interest in the cigar girl. I enjoyed this book not so much as a murder mystery attempting to be solved, but as a history of our country and it's people.
Fascinating and well written. Recommend reading, with a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's writing at your side. Nov 01, Djrmel rated it liked it Shelves: mystery , non-fiction , biography. Shashower attempts to make a personal link between Poe and Mary Rogers, but within the first pages he admits there's nothing to back up that idea: they simply lived in NYC at the same time and people Poe knew did shop at the store where Rogers worked.
Link aside, he can prove that Poe's sequal to "The Murder in the Rue Morge", "The Murder of Marie Roget", was based on a true crime, because there are documents that prove he was writing his story in an attempt to prove that his detective could sol Shashower attempts to make a personal link between Poe and Mary Rogers, but within the first pages he admits there's nothing to back up that idea: they simply lived in NYC at the same time and people Poe knew did shop at the store where Rogers worked.
Link aside, he can prove that Poe's sequal to "The Murder in the Rue Morge", "The Murder of Marie Roget", was based on a true crime, because there are documents that prove he was writing his story in an attempt to prove that his detective could solve the crime when the real police could not. That aspect of the story is quite interesting, even allowing the Stashower is guessing at Poe's thought process.
However, the book is written in such a chunky manner, divided between the real crime and investigation and Poe's life and writing that it's a dull, almost academic read. Readers not familiar with Poe's life will probably get more out of the story than someone who's read a few of the many biographies out there, although the lack of footnotes makes for a questionable biography. Might it not, we ask, have been committed on Monday or Monday evening, or even as early as Sunday before noon?
We submit these questions for the authorities to consider. The authorities, however, had their own methods and one of these, as already pointed out, was extreme secrecy. All the examinations were conducted in private and information reached the newspapers only by a sidewind. It was not on an official basis that the Tribune told its readers that Morse stated that he was not acquainted with Miss Rogers, but that he firmly believed the young lady who went with him to Staten Island was none other than Mary Rogers herself, that after hearing of her death and the discovery of her body he thought she had destroyed herself on account of the treatment she had received from him, and that he fled for fear of being accused; that he did not discover his mistake until the young lady with whom he was at Staten Island was brought to him by the police.
Edgar Allan Poe Tried and Failed to Crack the Mysterious Murder Case of Mary Rogers
Then, in despair at not finding out anything by their own unaided efforts, the authorities fell back upon the time-honoured plan of offering a reward, and on September 10th Mr. It will be noticed in the foregoing that only the New York Tribune has been quoted. They may exist in the journalistic archives of the United States, but not one is to be found in the newspaper catalogue of the British Museum.
The solitary exception is the Tribune. A fair assumption is that if the authorities refused to give reporting facilities to the Tribune this refusal extended to other newspapers. The Tribune , although but in the year of its birth, had established itself as a reliable and well-conducted journal, and as such would be in possession of every available fact. Yet all that it could gather of so outstanding a mystery is contained in the meagre story that we have pieced together.
A sort of sequel is given by Inspector Byrnes, but of this sequel not one word is to be found in the Tribune outside the following quotation from the New York Courier of September 14th:. Loss, who keeps a small tavern on the embankment near Wukawken, has been examined before the Mayor, and testified that Mary Rogers, with several young men, was at her house on the evening of July 25th and that she drank some lemonade offered by one of them.
The clothes found were also identified by Mrs. The statement of the Courier is amplified by Inspector Byrnes to the effect that the day after the proclamation of the reward the coroner had an anonymous letter, the writer stating that on Sunday, the presumed day of the murder, he had seen, while walking near the river, a boat containing six rough-looking men and a girl pull out from the New York side. The girl was well dressed and he immediately recognised her as Mary Rogers. The party landed on the Hoboken side and went into the woods, the girl going willingly with them and laughing as she went.
Hardly had they disappeared when another boat put out from the New York bank, the occupants being three well-dressed men. One of them landed at Hoboken and, meeting two other men on the shore, asked if they had seen a young woman and six men land from a boat a few minutes before. The reply was in the affirmative, whereupon they wanted to know whether any force had been used to get her to go.
He was told that she had apparently gone with them willingly.
Upon this the questioner returned to the boat, which went back to New York. They also knew Mary Rogers by sight, but they were not able to say positively the girl they saw was she. Shortly after, came another statement which appeared to have reference to the same story. Loss, the manageress, is said to have remembered that a man resembling the one described visited her house on the day in question, and after having some refreshment, went into the woods.
Loss paid no attention to it as such noises were common. This narrative somehow does not wear the aspect of truth, and as the identity of the girl was never established it is not worthy of serious consideration. Poe, however, utilises it, as will be seen, in his summing-up of the case of Marie Roget. Byrnes goes on with the final scene of the drama and with such circumstantiality that it is advisable to quote his words.
He says:. Leading out of the thicket was a broad track such as might have been made by dragging a body through the bushes. It led in the direction of the river, but was soon lost in the woods. All the articles were identified as having been worn by Mary on the day of her disappearance. Not the slightest allusion to any part of this story is to be met with in the Tribune , nor is there any record of the statement that Daniel Payne committed suicide in consequence of the terrible death of his betrothed. Poe, however, adopts both stories, and on the episode of the alleged struggle in the woods founds his conclusion as to the fate of Marie Roget.
Unfortunately, Inspector Byrnes has omitted to give his authority for his details. Where did he get them? He dealt with the materials after the manner of Defoe. The effect he desired would have been weakened thereby. Apparently he is engaged upon a dispassionate and critical examination of certain facts, and these facts he purports to have taken from the newspapers. He places the scene of the murder in Paris, gives French names to the various characters in the tragedy and turns the New York newspapers into Parisian ones.
Loss, Madame Dulac. Oddly enough, the New York Tribune is not in the list. Was this omission intentional? Whether or not, it is not without significance that the Tribune contains two statements which none of the papers quoted by Poe seem to have noticed and which, if true, would have affected his argument materially.
The Unsolved Murder That Fascinated s New York (and Edgar Allan Poe) | Mental Floss
One of the statements refers to the important question of identification. But in the actual sequence of events Crommelin does not go to Hoboken until after the discovery and presumably while the hastily called inquest is proceeding. It is not certain whether he saw the body, but it may be presumed that he did, though there is no mention of it in the Tribune. Anyway, no one else had a chance of so doing, as in consequence of the hot weather the burial took place the same night as already related.
Poe is very precise in regard to the injuries to the face and body. The arms were bent over the chest and were rigid. The right hand was clenched, the left partially open. On the left wrist were two circular excoriations, apparently the effect of ropes or of a rope in more than one volition. A part of the right wrist also was much chafed as well as the back throughout its extent, but more especially at the shoulder blades. There were no cuts apparent or bruises which appeared to be the effect of blows.
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