It's a perfectly typical day for Lowell Mitchell at her perfectly ordinary university in Massachusetts. She goes to class, chats with friends, and retires to her dorm room. Everything is normal until suddenly it's not--in the blink of an eye, Lowell is gone.
Facts are everything for Police Chief Frank Ford. He's a small-town cop, and he knows only hard evidence and thorough procedure will lead him to the truth. Together with the wise-cracking officer Burt Cameron, the grizzled chief will deal with the distraught family, chase dead-end leads, interrogate shady witnesses, and spend late nights ruminating over black coffee and cigars. Everyone tells him what a good, responsible girl Lowell is. But Ford believes that Lowell had a secret and that if he can discover it, this case will crack wide open. Considered one of the first-ever police procedurals and hailed as an American mystery milestone, Last Seen Wearing--based on a true story--builds suspense through its accurate portrayal of an official police investigation.
This latest installment in the Library of Congress Crime Classics series was written nearly 70 years ago and served as the prototype for the American police procedurals to follow. Frequently featured on 'best 100 ever lists' and penned by MWA Grand Master Waugh, the story was inspired by the success of the radio program Dragnet and based on the real-life disappearance of a Vermont coed ... Procedural fans interested in the evolution of the genre won’t want to miss this one.
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.
Though there’s not much action, Waugh builds suspense by raising doubts about motive and character. Did Lowell run away? Is she dead? The search for answers to these and other questions will keep readers turning the pages, though some will be put off by the cruelly casual sexism ... Series editor Leslie Klinger’s annotations offer fascinating insights into the postwar milieu. Those looking for a period mystery where ordinary cops are the good guys will be rewarded.