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The beautiful cigar girl : Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the invention of mu
Daniel Stashower
Adult Nonfiction PS2618.M83 S73 2006

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The author of Edgar winner Teller of Tales now recounts the story of Manhattan tobacco store clerk Mary Rogers, a mysterious beauty whose posse of admirers made her a minor celebrity in 1841 in various newspapers' society pages. The discovery that year of her mutilated corpse fueled a public outcry and a newspaper circulation war, as well as a fictional magazine serial by Edgar Allan Poe featuring his famous detective Dupin speculating on the murder of working-class Parisian "Marie Rog?t." Poe rightly deduced that Mary wasn't a victim of the gang violence that plagued New York City in the absence of an effective police presence. But he came late to the accepted theory that Mary had died of a botched abortion and had to tweak his final installment to maintain his and Dupin's reputations. Although Stashower's account bogs down in comparisons of Poe's revisions of the Rog?t manuscript, it's a generally absorbing account of the birth of the modern detective story. The sordid details of Mary Rogers's stunted life pale in comparison with Poe's own love-starved childhood, self-destructive tidal wave of alcoholism, poverty and rants against publishers and rivals; Poe's genius and literary legacy are hauntingly drawn here. (Oct. 5) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Readers who enjoyed Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City will like mystery novelist and biographer Stashower's work here. Following a similar approach to a 19th-century crime, Stashower (Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle) tells the story of New York City cigar store clerk Mary Rogers, whose violent death in 1841 brought on a frenzy of sensational newspaper stories and prompted the interest of Edgar Allan Poe. Stashower's special distinction is in moving back and forth between the lives of Rogers and Poe and then intertwining their stories: he details how the mystery surrounding Rogers's murder became the inspiration for Poe's story "The Mystery of Marie Rog?t." He also does an excellent job demonstrating the rise of lurid journalism in direct reaction to this crime and the inadequacies of the city police as they attempted to solve it. Well researched and accessible, here is a gripping story that is hard to put down; literary buffs in particular will enjoy this wonderful backstory to the creation of Poe's sequel to "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Recommended for public and academic libraries of all sizes. (Bibliography not seen.) Gena Moore, Central Piedmont Community Coll. Lib., NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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