Last Seen Wearing

Poisoned Pen: Sourcebooks. (Library of Congress Crime Classics). Feb. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781464213052. pap. $15.99. M
On March 3, 1950, Lowell Mitchell, an 18-year-old student at a women’s college, Parker College in Bristol, MA, left her dorm while her roommate was at lunch, and disappeared. At midnight, her roommate and dormmates grow concerned because Lowell missed curfew, and hadn’t signed out. Police chief Frank Ford is furious the next morning when the police are called only after the campus police and women from the various dorms had searched the campus. He suspects the missing young woman was pregnant and getting an abortion, but the students say she had no steady young man in her life. The police drain the campus lake, interview every young man who appeared in Lowell’s diary, and track men as far away as Ohio. Two weeks later, when they find her body, the DA calls it suicide. But Ford won’t give up until he finds the young woman’s killer.
VERDICT Author Leslie S. Klinger’s introduction and notes for this latest Library of Congress Crime Classic note that Waugh (1930–2008) wrote this first acclaimed police procedural, basing it on true crime cases and TV’s Dragnet. The methodical story follows the police investigation step by step. Students of the mystery genre will want to read this title, originally published in 1952, which appears on the Mystery Writers of America list of 100 Best Mysteries of All Time.
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