Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets ( A Jazz Age Mystery #2) by Ellen Mansoor CollierBathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets by Ellen Mansoor Collier
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #2
Published by Decodame Press on May 5, 2013
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo
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The last thing Jazz wants to do is compare make-up tips with ditzy dames competing in the Miss Universe contest, known as the "International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue." She'd rather help solve the murders of young prostitutes who turn up all over town, but city officials insist on burying the stories during Splash Day festivities. After Jazz gets to know the bathing beauties, she realizes there's a lot more to them than just pretty faces and figures.

Jazz becomes suspicious when she finds out the contest is also sponsored by the Maceos, aspiring Beach Gang leaders and co-owners of the Hollywood Dinner Club, where the girls will perform before the parade and pageant. Worse, her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis, a speakeasy on a rival gang's turf, asks her to call in a favor from handsome Prohibition Agent James Burton: He wants Agent Burton to raid the Hollywood Club during the bathing beauties dance routine--or risk revenge from the Downtown Gang leader. Her loyalties torn, Jazz is faced with an impossible task that could compromise both of their jobs and budding romance.

Meanwhile, Jazz fends off advances from Colin Ferris, an attractive but dangerous gangster who threatens Sammy as well as Burton. In the end, she must risk it all to save her friends from a violent killer hell-bent on revenge. Inspired by actual events. (Sequel to FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY, the first "Jazz Age Mystery" in the series.)

You can check out my review of the first book in this series, Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play HERE.

“”Boardwalk Empire” meets “Miss Universe” in 1927 Galveston, Texas-the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jasmine (“Jazz”) Cross is an ambitious 21-year-old society reporter for the Galveston Gazette who wants to be taken seriously by the good-old-boy staff, but the editors only assign her fluffy puff pieces, like writing profiles of bathing beauties.”

Here’s a fun alternate version of the cover:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]

 

I discovered this Jazz Age Mystery series while researching 1920s fiction and I tested the waters with Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play, which I adored. But, I gotta be honest. I enjoyed Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets EVEN MORE than the first book in this series!

Have no idea what ”Bathing Beauties” are or what the “Bathing Girl Revue” is? Then check out this cool footage of 1925 Galveston Beauties competing for the grand prize:

The plot, the slang, the characters, the details- they swirled together with all the cinematic verve of a Billy Wilder film! Twists and turns in the story definitely had me guessing (and getting it wrong, lol) more than in the first book.

Jasmine Cross (aka Jazz), the ballsy belle the Jazz Age Mysteries revolve around, continues to be fleshed-out in BBBB and I fell in love with her character a little more. I loved being inside Jazz’s head while she schemed all over town and connected overlooked dots to solve this Galveston murder mystery based on true events. Jazz is ready to move up from Society reporting and into the big time: Crime reporting. She proves to her fellow male colleagues at the Galveston Gazette that she’s got the moxie it takes to investigate big cases and I felt like Ms. Cross definitely left an impression on her boss. Maybe Jazz will be moving on up in the next novel? I’ll have to wait and see.

Vintage Bathing Beauties BW 1

There was a flicker of a romance in Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play that fans into a slightly bigger flame in Bathing Beauties. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Jazz and her love interest and can’t wait to see where it goes in the next novel.

The author does a really great job at capturing the cultural climate of Prohibition era Galveston. Everything from the customs, mannerisms, dialogue and gender roles/expectations bring this historical mystery to vivid life. Ellen Mansoor Collier has a knack for describing all the decadence of the era from saloons, to brothels, to dresses, to perfumed lamps. It’s like walking into a magical transporting antique store when reading the author’s descriptions of stuff from the 20s. It made me want to run to the nearest flea market or antique mall to find the cool collectibles she references. In short, these books have basically made me want to ditch my modern life and become a full-time flapper journalist. Ha!

Check out the author’s lovely website HERE and her ETSY shop HERE, where you can browse all sorts of vintage items and fabulous flapper finds!

bathing beauty color

 

Aaand just for fun:

Enjoy this 1920s dance craze montage. It will help you visualize some of the dance moves mentioned in Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNAOHtmy4j0

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Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play ( A Jazz Age Mystery #1) by Ellen Mansoor CollierFlappers, Flasks and Foul Play by Ellen M. Collier
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #1
Published by Decodame Press on 7/1/2012
Pages: 296
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N
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"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.

 

Flapper Cover Original

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.

        Bathing Beauties CoverGold Diggers CoverVamps and Villains Cover

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!

Galveston Heritage Festival Banner

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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