Ellis Parker

1871 – 1940

Portrait of Ellis Parker
Parker and his ever-present pipe, c. 1928

In the waning years of the larger-than-life detective, one more investigator commanded a national reputation for a time, from perhaps the unlikeliest of surroundings. A rural fiddler turned county detective in small town New Jersey, Ellis Parker was nonethless consulted many times by big city forces and even from across the country, nearly always finding a solution where others failed. Many of the mysteries Parker confronted were so confounding that they became legends, themselves, with names like “The Case of the Left-Sided Man” or “The Mystery of the Pickled Corpse.” When the famous Charles Lindbergh’s infant son was kidnapped just down the road, transfixing the entire nation, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to close out a legendary career. But the crime of the century also offered an incitement to desperation and recklessness, ruining more than one man for whom temptation proved too great…

Read more about Parker in Brilliant Deduction, or search the blog.

Photo courtesy of William Fullerton, reproduced with permission