Strongwood: A Crime Dossier (click on book for more information)
By Larry Millett
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review
Finish Time: too long. That is not a reflection of this book, this book was great. Although I’m still trying to figure out if it is based on a true story or not. It is written as if it were (footnotes and all), but it appears upon a quick Google search that it is not. And I had to ask my husband what a dossier was, because I did not know. I actually am embarrassed to admit that I thought this book would be about a woman detective! Not the case, as it was the trial of Addie Strongwood, who was accused of murder.
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At the very beginning of the book, it actually prepares you for never really knowing the truth, so I was a bit skeptical as I would have hated to get to the end of the book only to be left wondering. I had that in the back of my head the whole book, but needless to say, the ending was satisfying – so don’t let that deter you, as it almost did me.
It’s almost a “he said she said”, except HE is dead. So it’s a “she said” v. everything else that came up in court. SHE in this case is Addie Strongwood, the book gives you such a clear picture of this spunky little woman. She is the true definition of a firecracker. She admits to killing Michael Masterson, but only out of self-defense. The entire book includes excerpts from a 7-part article Addie published in a local newspaper, her testimony in court, and then various figures from her past, Michael’s past, Michael’s family, co-workers,and a variety of others. Just when you thought you knew all the facts, more were presented.
The book kept me guessing and going back and forth at different times of the book as to who was really guilty. Neither character was anything close to a saint, it was really who was the best of the worst! Really kept me thinking and wondering about Addie, she was either an amazing liar or truly innocent. And the end will keep you thinking long past putting down the book!
Also fun (and I guess a hint as the fictional side of this book) is the “guest appearance” of Sherlock Holmes. It appears the author, Larry Millett, has a lot of recurring characters in his books, Mr. Holmes being one of them, who ultimately uncovers the “key” to this case. Definitely makes me want to read some of his other works.
Overall a fun read, frustrating at time, but very well put together. Had me hanging on to the very end – check it out and let’s talk about it!
Description from Amazon:
The place is Minneapolis, the year is 1903, and Michael Masterson has fallen in love, or so he claims, with Addie Strongwood, a beautiful working-class girl with an interesting past and a mind of her own. But their promising relationship quickly begins to disintegrate before reaching a violent conclusion. Amid allegations of seduction, rape, and blackmail, Michael is shot dead and Addie goes on trial for first-degree murder. As the case unfolds in a welter of conflicting evidence and surprise discoveries, a jury must decide whether Addie acted in self-defense or killed her one-time lover with the coldest of calculation.
Reconstructing the case through trial testimony, newspaper stories, the journal of Addie’s flamboyant defense attorney, and her own first-person account as serialized in the Minneapolis Tribune, Larry Millett builds a suspenseful tale of love, money, betrayal, and death. Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, long known to readers from Millett’s previous mysteries, play crucial roles in the unraveling of the case, which also offers a glimpse into the sharply divided worlds of the rich and the poor at the dawn of the twentieth century.