Sunday, November 02, 2008

Spotlight Review The Mystery of Mary Rogers

The Mystery of Mary Rogers

Publisher NBM Comics Limited

Compiled and Illustrated by Rick Geary

6x9, 80pp., B&W, color cover, jacketed hardcover, $15.95

See a preview here.

The official solicitation for the book:


Geary presents us yet another true crime of the last century, very carefully researched and factual but with his usual gleeful tongue-in-cheek look at the lurid details. Mary Rogers was a compellingly beautiful lass employed in a cigar store in New York City in the mid-nineteenth century. She had a few suitors. Then, she suddenly disappeared, her body recovered in the Hudson off the Jersey side. The press had a field day with all the possible shocking possibilities. Rape... her "fooling around" between lovers...even gang rape. Never was this case solved. The hypotheses remain many. Even Edgar Allen Poe thought to have solved the case and presented that in his tale "The Mystery of Mary Roget." Make up your own mind. Geary recreates a fascinating picture of the nascent still somewhat anarchical soon-to-be metropolis of New York.


When Lee and I do our preview review, Lee does most of the work on the Indies and I then discover a lot of these books via Lee’s picks. Often I get caught up in the hype and Lee’s enthusiasm for certain books and I try something out. Once I order it I often forget I did order it and then it shows up at my store.

This was one such book and when I got it I rolled my eyes I wondered what I picked up now. The store owner even offered to take it back, but being an ex-store owner myself; if I order it I buy it. So this book sat in my to be read pile for a month or two.

Then I sat down and started to read and was immediately enthralled by the book. It is a wonderful and detailed retelling of a “Victorian Murder”. Replete with all the details, follows up with possible suspects and what the possible scenarios were that lead to Mary Rogers murder (as it was unsolved).

What Geary does in his illustrations is to give us a sense for what it was like at that time in American history. He adds into it what the actual historical time itself was like, but adding facts regarding gangs, politics, how the police force worked and what was driving people into New York city. Then he even gets into how Edgar Allan Poe used her murder for a tale that he successful sold later on in his life.

The book not only tells the tragic tale of Mary Rogers and her unsolved murder it takes you back to a different time and puts you in that place. A book that book educates and entertains.

Overall Grade A – A book well worth seeking out, especially if you are a fan of crime comics and/or a bit of a historical buff.

No comments:

Post a Comment