Ellis Parker is someone I had never heard of. After reading Master Detective: The Life and Crimes of Ellis Parker, America’s Real-Life Sherlock Holmes by John Reisinger, I want to know more.
John Reisinger has managed to find a gold nugget of forgotten history. Ellis Parker was once hailed as the “American Sherlock Holmes.” Rightfully so, too. Among the stunning cases he solved:
– a homicide that looked to everyone like murder but was actually suicide
– a murder with 175 suspects
– tracking a fugitive from justice around the world without ever leaving his desk!
This is an excellent book and Reisinger does something I wish all biographers would do: he places his subject in the context of his times, providing information about what was happening in the larger society during certain periods of his subject’s life.
In addition to this book, Reisinger has placed online a twelve-chapter(!) behind-the-scenes account of his research: In Search of the American Sherlock Holmes: Tracking down Ellis Parker and the Second Lindbergh Kidnapping. This is delightful, sometimes hilarious, and even offers photographs that do not appear in the printed book.