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Master Detective: The Life and Crimes of…

Master Detective: The Life and Crimes of Ellis Parker, America's Real-Life…

by John Reisinger

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Pre-CSI, pre-Miranda, pre-police procedural, even partly pre-mug shot, Ellis Parker was famous at the turn of the century for solving crimes in New Jersey. At one point, he was known as the American Sherlock Holmes. Of course, while some of the reputation was earned, much of it was carefully crafted and advertised by himself in order to garner an international reputation.

Ellis Parker was a man of considerable logical and psychological talent that had served him well throughout his career. Of course, as the Depression was in full swing and the Bureau of Investigation had the opportunity to declare Public Enemies, Parker began to run the risk of being eclipsed by so many other high-profile detectives that suddenly had the opportunity to collect many other less-talented but higher-cache criminals.

And then the crime of the century hit New Jersey with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. While Parker was not officially involved for two years, his involvement in the case was seen as inevitable by nearly everyone in the country. Reisinger traces Parker's career before and throughout the Lindbergh case and then concentrates the book on Parker's obsession with finding the real kidnapper.

It is clear that Reisinger has a love both for Parker's career and for Parker the person. So it is not unsurprising that he is unable to maintain an objective eye with the fallout from Parker's investigation. This hampers the book, as the constant need to defend Parker makes him appear far weaker than he most assuredly was in real life. On the upside, this early portraits of New Jersey politics and life as seen through Parker's investigations are well-told. ( )
  stephmo | Sep 30, 2009 |
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To Barbara, for all her help and support
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Cold gusty rain swept the rolling countryside near Hopewell, New Jersey, blowing dead leaves across bleak farm fields covered with stubble.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The man who would come to be known as the greatest detective in the world-and who, tragically would die in prison as a convicted criminal - initially showed no interest in law enforcement. But fate intervened when Ellis Parker was still in his teens. Someone stole his father's horse and wagon, and Parker unknowningly made a decision that would not only change his own life but would also end the promising careers of many future criminals. Over the next forty years-and long before the advent of today's forensic science-he would solve over ninety-eight percent of the murders in his New Jersey county, sometimes without leaving his desk. Drawing on the emerging discipline of psychology and his uncanny deductive reasoning skills, he was a "profiler" before the term existed, earning the nickname "American Sherlock Holmes" and a worldwide reputation for solving cases that baffled everyone else. Then he involved himself in what promised to be the biggest case of his career: the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's baby son in 1932. From that moment, things began to go wrong-terribly wrong-as he drove himself to unimaginable depths in pursuit of the truth. The genius who once solved a murder by deducing why the killers were not wearing overcoats died in prison, on the eve of an almost certain presidential pardon. (0-806502750-1)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0806527501, Hardcover)

"Fascinating reading for true-crime buffs and mystery fans alike." --Max Allan Collins

Known as the greatest detective in the world, Ellis Parker was the "American Sherlock Holmes" who solved ninety-eight percent of the murders he pursued. Yet his illustrious forty-year career ended tragically in prison, where he died on the very eve of certain Presidential pardon.

Here is a riveting account of the ultimate sleuth, a man who solved his first crime as a teen by nabbing the thief who stole his father's horse and buggy. Drawing on the emerging discipline of psychology and his uncanny deductive skills, Parker was a "profiler" long before the term existed, and often apprehended criminals without ever leaving his desk!

Then came the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's baby son in 1932. From that moment things began to go wrong--terribly wrong--as Parker pushed himself past the bounds of law in pursuit of the truth. A fascinating look at America in the early years of a tumultuous century, Master Detective paints a long-overdue portrait of an exceptionally talented and driven man who, in the end, stopped at nothing in his quest for justice.

"A riveting read. In Reisinger, America's real-life Sherlock Holmes has found his Watson."--John Lutz

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:00 -0400)

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The core of the book is the Lindbergh case, Parker's theories on the real suspect, and his tragic overreaching to prove his point.

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