*Originally published in 2016/01/15
THE MYSTERY OF MARY ROGERS (Treasury of Victorian Murder) Written and Illustrated by Rick Geary
2001, 81 Pages (NBM Publishing)
Genre: graphic novel, true crime, mystery, suspense
I am not an expert in graphic novels but I do enjoy a great mystery…and even better it is a true mystery. At work I was checking in materials from patrons when the cover of this book caught my eye. Without paying attention to the words I noticed that it had an old school Victorian feel to it which is a time period I enjoy (a great era for mystery and mayhem). When the words came into focus it sounded like an old time radio episode. Coincidentally, a friend and I had just been discussing graphic novels. Her passion for them kind of made me envious…and I thought this would be a good way to test it all out. I have tried the genre of graphic novels but nothing has really captured my interest. This being a mystery and true crime I thought at least I would discover a new mystery.
The Mystery of Mary Rogers is only 80 pages and is in black and white which lends more mystique to the story set in New York. Mary Rogers, a beautiful young lady, worked in a cigar shop and her charm drove men into the shop and wanting to be her suitor. She never stayed long with one man and had her mother telling her to marry for money. One day she went to her aunt’s house and never returned home. The next day her body is found in New Jersey – she was identified, autopsied, and already had a coroner’s inquest and her body buried. Adding to the mystery was the fact that her aunt was not expecting her visit and had not seen her that day, she was engaged but was looking to break it off, and she had sent a letter to her ex-suitor asking him to meet her but he ignored it. Both men claimed they did not see her after she departed from her house but both men went straight to the area where her body was found. No one was convicted for her murder but the press (and rumour mill) went crazy with the story. Edgar Allan Poe heard about the case and wrote his own theory in a short story. This case still has interest in the present day since it went unsolved.
Geary did a great job in telling the case of Mary Rogers. He started with the background and facts about Mary Rogers and then about the murder and consequent theories that arose from it all. His illustrations are detailed of the time period. I enjoyed this graphic novel so much I want to try more in this series as well as some others. Stay tuned in my adventures in graphic novels! Also, this mystery has me intrigued so I will be ready Poe’s short story and another nonfiction book.