The Mystery of Mary Rogers: A Chronicle of the Disappearance and Murder of "the Beautiful Segar Girl" in July, 1841--a Crime Which Was Never Solved

Overview

Mary Rogers was a compellingly beautiful lass employed in a cigar store in New York City. Then, she suddenly disappeared, her body recovered in the Hudson off the Jersey side. The press had a field day with all the shocking possibilities. Inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s “Mystery of Mary Roget.”

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Overview

Mary Rogers was a compellingly beautiful lass employed in a cigar store in New York City. Then, she suddenly disappeared, her body recovered in the Hudson off the Jersey side. The press had a field day with all the shocking possibilities. Inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s “Mystery of Mary Roget.”

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This fourth volume in Geary's Treasury of Victorian Murder series, which began with Jack the Ripper (NBM, 1995), recounts the events in an actual murder case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe's story The Mystery of Marie Roget. Geary uses the graphic novel format to tell the story based on the facts of the unsolved crime. Mary Rogers was a beautiful young woman who worked as a cigar girl in a New York City tobacco shop, where the men greatly admired her. She was engaged to Daniel Payne, a cork cutter. On July 25, 1841, Mary disappeared. On July 28, her body was discovered floating in the Hudson River at Hoboken, New Jersey. Men were questioned and released, evidence was discovered, but the police never found the killer. In October, Daniel Payne committed suicide by taking a large quantity of laudanum. Poe knew Mary Rogers because he was a customer at the tobacco shop, and he followed all the newspaper reports. In 1842 he published a story set in France, featuring his fictional detective, C. August Dupin. In his story, Marie is murdered by a former lover, a sailor. Geary retells the entire saga using old-fashioned black-and-white drawings and a witty, ironic narrative that allows the reader to decide which of several theories provides the real solution to the case. Any teen who wants to read a true crime case without getting grossed out by nasty details should enjoy this book. Illus. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, NBM, 80p, $15.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Kat Kan SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This is the "Chronicle of the Disappearance and Murder of `The Beautiful Segar Girl' in July, 1841-a crime which was never solved-and which inspired the sensational tale by Edgar A. Poe." It was not so much Mary's murder that was sensational-bodies were often found floating in the river-but the fact that the victim, who worked in a popular cigar store, had an unusually wide acquaintance among the "gentlemen" of the city. With many suspects and loose ends, each new piece of evidence only seemed to muddy the case further, and Geary tells this twisting and fascinating story with remarkable clarity. His compelling art brings the time and place to life; the black-and-white drawings, varying in style to suit his points, lead readers to discover underlying human truths and predicaments that they will recognize as timeless, even as they marvel at the strangeness of the past. The effect is an undertone of creepiness in which any of a number of equally appalling scenarios (and even one happy ending) might have occurred; readers are left to decide upon a solution. Those familiar with today's New York and the New Jersey shore should be particularly fascinated by Geary's maps and evocations of the area's past. YAs susceptible to a good mystery or true-crime story should relish this book. With its commendable historical accuracy, it would also enliven studies of U.S. history.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Mary Rogers was a lovely cigar store clerk who was found dead and floating on the Hudson River. It was the month of July, 1841, a time before New York City had an official police department, only "freelance" officers living off fines and defending the populace from a proliferation of street gangs. All this is the highly recommended substance of The Mystery Of Mary Rogers, a superbly created graphic novel with absolutely accurate background detail that accurately showcases the an emerging city and the plight of a citizenry in the face of criminal activities. Rick Geary is a master storyteller and a gifted artist.
Kirkus Reviews
The author/illustrator of Jack the Ripper (1995) continues to focus on Victorian crime in this latest historical comic, part of a series on 19th-century murder, based on a true-life story so compelling it inspired a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. While Poe was intrigued by the philosophy of detection in the case, Geary's apparent interest lies in its revelations about urban lowlife of mid-19th-century New York City. His thick-lined black-and-white narrative, with its loose, curvy edges and distinctive bulbous lettering, well suits this historical curiosity. Geary's well-researched book recounts the mysterious death of Mary Rogers, a young single woman who lived with her mother near present-day City Hall. When her corpse washed up on the western side of the Hudson River, many journalists became fascinated by the possible reasons for her fate. Was she an innocent, brutally murdered by one of the boarders at her mother's house? Was she killed by a jealous lover or by one of the many male admirers who patronized the tobacco store where she worked? Or was it a botched abortion? These questions captured the imagination of the contemporary public and press because, in Geary's view, Mary's story was a powerful cautionary tale of emerging city life, which the artist illuminates in many sidebar historical drawings. Unsolved in part because of the period's inadequate forensic techniques, the story becomes "a testament to the unknown and unknowable," and Geary's visual airiness perfectly captures the mysteriousness at its core. This is certainly a far cry from his early work for National Lampoon and Heavy Metal. Distinguished by a keen sense of period detail and sharp pacing: Geary serves hissubject with dignity and grace.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561632749
  • Publisher: N B M Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/1/2001
  • Series: Treasury of Victorian Murder Series
  • Edition description: Graphic Novel
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 1,463,427
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

An award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, Rick Geary has worked for Marvel Entertainment Group, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Heavy Metal, and has contributed to National Lampoon and The New York Times Book Review.

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