Strongwood: A Crime Dossier

Strongwood: A Crime Dossier - Larry Millett

Thank you Netgalley and University of Minnesota Press for the advanced copy.

I was torn whether to rate this book with 3 or 4 stars, so I will give it a strong 3.5 rating.

"Strongwood" is strictly based on the true life of Adelaide Strongwood. Addie, as she preferred to be acknowledged as, was a young and highly intelligent woman who stemmed from poverty. Both of her parents were deceased and she was left to fend for herself. After trying unsuccessfully to provide a lucrative life for herself in Chicago, she soon returned to her origins in Minneapolis where trouble awaited her or perhaps the other way around.

She becomes acquainted with Michael Masterson, a local young man whose family is quite prestigious and wealthy. He lives the life of a playboy who is known, by the local brothels, to abuse women during his coital quests. Unfortunately for him, he slaps around the wrong woman and soon finds his fate with two bullets in the heart.

Was he shot in self-defense by Addie, as she confesses,, or was he shot in cold-blood?

I am a fanatic of true crime such as this and nevertheless found the story of Adelaide Strongwood to be quite fascinating. The reason for the fewer stars is because I wasn't a fan of the layout of the story.

In the beginning, the author states that his original intention was to convey this story in the form of historical fiction but ultimately he believed that the court documents, newspaper articles, and journal entries from the defense attorney were enough to speak for themselves; therefore, he turned the book into a collage of documents in order for it to read as a mystery. I agree that it is true that the documents spoke for themselves, but I prefer something that flows from beginning to end. I found the layout of the book to be too choppy and confusing at times.

There is an introduction of Sherlock Holmes who seems fascinated with the case and does a little investigating in the background, but doesn't offer up his conclusion until after the case is settled. I found this to be interesting but from the beginning it became confusing what his part was because I didn't believe that he was introduced in ways that made much sense to me until nearly the end of the book.

I enjoyed learning about Ms. Strongwood, but ultimately would have preferred it to have been written as historical fiction and I more than likely would have rated it much higher. Altogether, I would recommend this book. It is so interesting and the ending was quite exciting to me.