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Manhattan, 1912. A time of greed, corruption, scandal and distrust, when the police commissioner had this advice for the citizenry: “Don’t take a criminal investigation into your own hands. Don’t poke about a dead body. Don’t investigate a robbery all on your own.”

Then the most outrageous and brutal bank heist of the young century occurred, and the city combusted in fear and anger. Wall Street brokers were carrying guns. The police looked more ineffectual by the day. Not a single man could break the case.

But perhaps a woman could. Mrs. Isabella Goodwin was a smart and resourceful police matron who had gone about as far as a woman in police work could go. The bank robbery presented a unique career opportunity.

As Elizabeth Mitchell writes in “The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin,” a true story so astounding it reads like fiction, only a woman could penetrate New York’s underworld without attracting suspicion. When Goodwin got the call from headquarters, she was ready. With glimmering eyes, the widow with four children to support disappeared into Manhattan’s underbelly. Would she return with her man? Would she make it back at all?

In this Byliner Original, Elizabeth Mitchell, the author of “W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty,” and “Three Strides Before the Wire: The Dark and Beautiful World of Horse Racing,” has delved into New York City’s hurly-burly past and returned with a classic crime story all the more amazing for having actually happened.


Elizabeth Mitchell is an award-winning journalist and the author of “Three Strides Before the Wire: The Dark and Beautiful World of Horse Racing” and “W.: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty.” She served as executive editor of “George” magazine and features editor of “Spin.” She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


“What a ripsnort! Elizabeth Mitchell’s exploration of New York City in the early 1900s and the remarkable woman detective who took on savvy, brutal criminals is a fascinating piece of history and a riveting story. Old-timey CSI, but much wilder, and no deodorant.” —Sam Lipsyte, author of “Home Land” and “The Ask”

“Molls, tough guys, an insane bank heist and N.Y.C.’s feistiest chick—the perfect beach read. Loved it!!!” —Simon Doonan, author of “Beautiful People”

“Elizabeth Mitchell brings to life the story of Isabella Goodwin, New York's first female police detective, with deep reporting and evocative details. This Film Noir tale of early New York is a scintillating read that grips you from the first page and never lets up.” —Darcey Steinke, author of “Easter Everywhere” and “Suicide Blonde”

“A fascinating real-life crime story, starring New York City's first female detective, and 1912 New York in all its corrupt and vivid glory.” —Katha Pollitt, author of “Learning to Drive”

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