Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns by: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Publisher: DecoDame Press
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #3
Pages: 260
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour


During Prohibition, Galveston Island was called the "Free State of Galveston" due to its lax laws and laissez-faire attitude toward gambling, gals and bootlegging. Young society reporter Jasmine (Jazz) Cross longs to cover hard news, but she's stuck between two clashing cultures: the world of gossip and glamour vs. gangsters and gamblers. 

After Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is released from jail, all hell breaks loose: Prohibition Agent James Burton’s life is threatened and he must go into hiding for his own safety. But when he’s framed for murder, he and Jazz work together to prove his innocence. Johnny Jack blames her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis speakeasy, for his arrest and forces him to work overtime in a variety of dangerous mob jobs as punishment. 

When a bookie is murdered, Jazz looks for clues linking the two murders and delves deeper into the underworld of gambling: poker games, slot machines and horse-racing. Meanwhile, Jazz tries to keep both Burton and her brother safe, and alive, while they face off against each other, as well as a common enemy. A soft-boiled mystery inspired by actual events.

My Thoughts:

This book picks up not long after Bathing Beauties leaves off.  Jazz and James Burton are at the Hollywood Club enjoying a night out together when someone takes a pot-shot at the young Prohibition Agent.

Then of course the next day is another murder which some Jazz cares about is on the line for.  It's up to Jazz and her  band of mates to figure out who had the juice to ice a bar owner?  And what is with these odd coins that keep showing up through the book?  Will Jazz rescue her man in time or is he about to be on the hook for murder?

I love this series so much fun going back to Prohibition era and seeing her friends as they go off to solve another murder.    I can only imagine the amount of crime and murder in this time in history, probably enough to fill a big book series like Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries.  I definitely find myself missing these characters as soon as the books end.  In some ways it makes me want to watch Boardwalk Empire or some other era inspired book or movie.  I just love the colorful characters who have so much personality.  The colorfulness of the characters is that on one hand we have Jazz's aunt who is against alot of what Jazz does in the earlier books, in this one she stretches the line in regards to James Burton the prohibition agent, and when she dealing with a cop she fancies she strikes me as a young teenager who shows a more fun side.

All Jazz's friends and acquaintances add something in this book each in their own way help Jazz solve the big crime, and help her nail the murder to the wall.   Jazz in these series shows us how she is dedicated to being a hard journalist and not just a society writer.   Time and again she goes to crime scenes and tries to find out who is killing various people and what they hope to gain with it.  It is unlike most cozy mysteries where the character kind of gets thrown into the murder by being a suspect.  In these books Jazz is trying to solve the crime so that her bosses and other newspaper writers will take her seriously in a world where men still dominate the work place.

Definitely a different time in history.  Also a time in history there aren't many books written about when so many could shed light on that time frame I can only hope others join in with Mrs. Collier and bring this time in history back into the present!
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1 shout outs:

Ellen C. said...

Paula, so glad you enjoyed my Jazz Age series! Many thanks for the 5-star review--you're the leopard's spots! E