The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism, and the Dawn of the NAACP
In the tranquil seaside town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, 10-year-old schoolgirl Marie Smith is brutally murdered. Small-town officials, unable to find the culprit, call upon the young manager of a New York detective agency for help. It is the detective’s first murder case, and now, the specifics of the investigation and daring sting operation that caught the killer is captured in all its rich detail for the first time.
Occurring exactly halfway between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the formal beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in 1954, the brutal murder and its highly covered investigation sits at the historic intersection of sweeping national forces – religious extremism, class struggle, the infancy of criminal forensics, and America’s Jim Crow racial violence.
History and true crime collide in this sensational murder mystery featuring characters as complex and colorful as those found in the best psychological thrillers – the unconventional truth-seeking Detective Ray Schindler; the sinister pedophile Frank Heidemann; the ambitious Asbury Park Sheriff Clarence Hetrick; the mysterious “sting artist” Carl Neumeister; the indomitable crusader Ida Wells; and the victim, Marie Smith, who represented all the innocent and vulnerable children living in turn-of-the-century America.
Gripping and powerful, The Rope is an important piece of history that gives a voice to the voiceless and resurrects a long-forgotten true-crime story that speaks to the very divisions tearing at the nation’s fabric today.
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