"Boardwalk Empire" meets "Downton Abbey" in this soft-boiled Jazz Age mystery, inspired by actual events. Real-life rival gangs fight over booze and bars during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston, Texas—the “Sin City of the Southwest.”
Jasmine Cross, a 21-year-old society reporter, feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette. After a big-shot banker with a hidden past collapses at the Oasis—as speakeasy secretly owned by her black-sheep half-brother, Sammy Cook—Jazz suspects foul play. Was it an accident or a mob hit?
Soon handsome young Prohibition Agent James Burton raids the Oasis, threatening to shut it down if Sammy doesn't cooperate. Suspicious, he pursues Jazz, hoping for information (and some romance), but she refuses to rat on Sammy.
As turf wars escalate between the Downtown and Beach gangs, Sammy is accused of murder. To find the killer, Jazz must risk her life and career, exposing the dark side of Galveston’s glittering society. Now available in a revised trade paperback version with a glossary of 1920s slang.
I discovered Ellen Mansoor Collier’s Jazz Age Mystery series while doing some Historical research of my own, and by God, I feel like I struck gold, babies! GOLD!
We’ve all read the 1920s Historical Fiction set in New York, Chicago, Paris, New Orléans, but I never would have thought about experiencing the Jazz Age via Galveston, Texas until I read Flappers Flasks, and Foul Play. To be honest (I admit with my head hung in shame), the only history I really knew about Galveston had to do with The 1900 Storm that devastated the city.
The author’s smart and classy writing style keeps the familiar cadence of a ”whodunnit” novel or film noir feature. The female protagonist, Jasmine Cross, is clever and fearless as she plays her investigative cards in two different worlds: the seedy side and the socialite side to solve a crime that hits close to home. With all the moxie of Louis Lane, Jasmine Cross is the kind of strong female character you will find yourself rooting for.
Full of rich historical detail and colorful 1920s slang true to the era, Galveston, the “Ellis Island of the West” jumps off the pages. A fun and entertaining mystery drives the story along, but it was the story world that really won me over. Every aspect- from the cultural climate to the perfume and cosmetic cases- is fully realized and I couldn’t have asked for better world building. It was a special treat to learn so much about Prohibition era Galveston while having the pleasure of enjoying the fictional story that facts are built around. Hardcore History and Mystery Lovers alike will fall head over heels for this series, and general readers will be enlightened and entertained.
Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play left me fiending for more mystery and mayhem steeped in rich historical context. Luckily for me (and YOU), I can indulge myself in the next three books in this series: Bathing Beauties. Booze and Bullets, Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns, and Vamps, Villains, and Vaudeville.
ATTENTION FELLOW HOUSTONIANS: Check out the Galveston Heritage Festival on Saturday, August 15, 2015 to experience first-hand some of the exciting history Ellen M. Collier brings to life in her Jazz Age Mystery series!
Aaaand JUST FOR FUN:
Want a soundtrack with a 1920s feel to complete that Jazz Age Mystery feel? Then check out PostModern Jukebox for vintage renditions of modern radio songs. If you live in Houston (or surrounding areas) they will be performing at Cullen Performance Hall on December 2, 2015.
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