Master Detective: The Life and Crimes of Ellis Parker, America’s Real-life Sherlock Holmes


The kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby was the Crime of the Century, but when Bruno Hauptmann was convicted of the crime the case seemed to be over.

Ellis Parker at Desk

But only a few days before execution of Bruno Hauptmann, famed New Jersey detective Ellis Parker obtained a signed confession from someone else! Bruno Hauptmann got a stay of execution and the New Jersey establishment was thrown into turmoil. In the rough and tumble legal and political aftermath, Parker’s suspect went free and Parker was sent to federal prison! Master Detective is the whole story of this almost forgotten incident in America’s most remembered crime.

Master Detective is the first full biography of Ellis Parker, his remarkable career, and his ultimate downfall. Master Detective is a dispassionate, even-handed portrait of a man who, despite his faults, was a great public servant and a remarkable lawman.

Buy Master Detective

Read a sample.


Updated and expanded edition


Original edition


Taiwan edition


Mainland China edition







This is the updated and expanded edition of the book that was a 2006 Edgar Award candidate for best nonfiction. Further research and additional sources have revealed additional details about Ellis Parker and some of his cases. This edition includes the latest information plus more updates on some of the people in the drama.

Ellis Parker was a detective so successful he was called the American Sherlock Holmes. For over 30 years he solved the most difficult and complex cases all over New Jersey and beyond. When EllisParker got involved in a case, people took notice. When he conducted his own investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping and obtained a detailed signed confession, the New Jersey authorities were stunned, especially since they had just tried and convicted someone else! Master Detective tells the whole incredible story in detail for the first time. Don’t miss it!

For more information on Ellis Parker and the Lindbergh kidnapping, see my special website The Second Lindbergh Kidnapping.