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Strongwood: A Crime Dossier

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    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 theMinneapolis 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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4126-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    Larry Millett

    On the damp, gloomy evening of November 9, 1903, a young man and a young woman met in an office building in downtown Minneapolis for what turned out to be a lethal encounter. The woman was Adelaide Strongwood, age twenty-one, and when she left the building the man she had met there, twenty-six-year-old Michael Masterson, lay dead on the floor, blood pouring from a bullet wound to his chest. Strongwood was arrested and later indicted by a grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder, all the while proclaiming that she had acted in self-defense.

    Her case became a sensation,...

  3. ONE
    (pp. 1-42)

    Few criminal trials in recent memory have produced as great a sensation in the Northwest as that of Adelaide Strongwood, who stood accused of murdering Michael Masterson, scion of one of the wealthiest manufacturers in Minneapolis. Miss Strongwood’s trial, held before Judge Charles Elliott in the Hennepin County District Court in January and February 1904, became a spectacle avidly followed by almost every resident of the city. The many shocking details that emerged during the three-week-long trial, culminating in the dramatic testimony of Miss Strongwood herself, are still the source of discussion, as is the verdict ultimately rendered by the...

  4. TWO
    (pp. 43-72)

    I began work at the firm of Masterson, DeLaittre & Sons on July 20 of 1903, in the company’s offices adjacent to their factory, where equipment is made for the flour mills of Minneapolis and other cities. More than once, as I sat at my high desk, I wondered whether the shaft that long ago broke in Mr. Pettit’s Mill and killed my poor father had come from my employer’s plant, and if so, whether some imperfection in its manufacture had caused Papa’s sad end. It was a useless thing to think of, of course, as the past is a...

  5. THREE
    (pp. 73-106)

    The afternoon Michael and I spent at Minnehaha Park was for the most part quite pleasing, and when he took me home early in the evening he said he would like to see me again and that we might have a “future together,” as he put it. Naturally, I was thrilled to think that a young man of his lofty situation would take an interest in me, but at the time I could not help but feel dark clouds of doubt gathering at the back of my mind, for I was acutely aware, after meeting Michael’s friends at the park,...

  6. FOUR
    (pp. 107-146)

    So many falsehoods have been circulated regarding my relationship with Michael Masterson that it could well be the labor of a lifetime to refute them all. The most scurrilous attacks have come in the pages of theJournal,where I have been treated as little more than a clay target in a shooting gallery. Firing off lies like scattershot, so that they might try to wound me no matter how wild their aim, my enemies have been cruel and unrelenting. Yet is not the truth the mightiest of armor? I believe it to be so, and I wear it proudly....

  7. FIVE
    (pp. 147-182)

    So potent had been the anesthetizing agent used to overwhelm my senses that when I awoke the next morning in Michael Masterson’s apartment, as though from a long and troubled sleep, I at first had no memory of what had occurred during the night. As my mind began to clear, however, I became aware of a swirl of dim and fleeting phantasmagoria. I saw Michael, grinning like a hyena, taking off his jacket and bending over me. I saw his friend Jakes standing behind him, his mouth twisted into a grim rictus. I saw the blood-red divan and the table...

  8. SIX
    (pp. 183-214)

    Of all the regrets I have accumulated in connection with the events of the past year, the greatest centers upon the child that was the unfortunate consequence of Michael Masterson’s act of violation. When I became aware that I was carrying the child, I naturally felt as though yet another burden had been placed upon me by fate’s relentless hand. Yet, contrary to what has been written elsewhere, I never sought to “rid” myself of the child, who after all had no choice in springing to life in my womb. Nor did I ever ask to avail myself of the...

  9. SEVEN
    (pp. 215-246)

    Today marks my twenty-second birthday, as well as the forty-first day of my confinement inside the bleak walls of the Hennepin County jail. How I wonder at the turn my life has taken and the awful circumstances that led to the charges brought against me! Had I the power to undo all that happened since I first met Michael Masterson, I would in an instant do so, and I would gladly substitute the quiet anonymity of my previous life for the storm of notoriety in which I now find myself enveloped. But as you know, dear readers, time stamps us...

  10. EIGHT
    (pp. 247-266)

    As might be expected in a case of such consequence, the final arguments were highly anticipated, and the courtroom was filled to overflowing when, on the morning of February 1, Frederick Boardman gave the prosecution’s summation. Although Mr. Boardman claimed center stage, Miss Strongwood, as always, drew her fair share of attention from the spectators. Dressed in a brown wool gabardine skirt and lace-trimmed white blouse, she sat perfectly straight in her chair, her folded hands resting on the defense table. Now and then she adjusted her long black hair, which was bundled atop her head and tied with a...

  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-267)