Gilbert Cruz
September 29, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Beautiful Cigar Girl

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Daniel Stashower
publisher
Dutton Adult
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an B

In July 1841, Mary Rogers, a beautiful young New York cigar clerk, was strangled and her body tossed in the Hudson River, a crime so ghastly that it pitted the city’s sensational tabloids against each other in a contest of rumor and speculation. Due to a bungled investigation from start to finish, the murder appealed enough to Edgar Allan Poe that he co-opted it for ”The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.” Knocking back and forth between the unending case and Poe’s utterly depressing life cycle of debt, poverty, and alcoholism, Daniel Stashower’s Cigar Girl takes a solidly comprehensive look at the predecessor to today’s all-too-common media crime frenzies.

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