The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder
Title: The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder
Author: Daniel Stashower
Traces the July 1841 murder investigation into a twenty-year-old saleswoman whose demise was marked by sensational media coverage and the debut of Edgar Allen Poe, whose short stories “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget” associated him with the crime.
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.