Every now and then, I enjoy an undemanding mystery and Music and Murder fits the bill. I selected this novel by an unfamiliar author, because my mother was born and raised in Oak Park, Ill in the 1920s. This and the first book of the series are set in that time and place, though my mother would have been a toddler in 1925. tIn fact, Dams does evoke the era and aspects of the "Village." I certainly know that during prohibition, my chemist grandfather made booze for home consumption in the basement.
It is 1925. Elizabeth, a thirty year old war widow, and her boyfriend Fred, a local lawyer, sneak out to a speakeasy to see Earl Hines and Louis Armstrong play. Jazz is the devil's music and the properly raised and rather proper Elizabeth finds she loves the music. The "mystery" in the novel involves things happening in Oak Park around some criminal activities of some local branches of Chicago area gangs. It is the time of Al Capone, who Elizabeth has met in a priorr interaction. Apparently, Oak Park had an active Klan at the time that focussed in part on its antipathy toward Jazz, a decidedly Black genre of music.
I have to admit to being a bit put off by Elizabeth's perceived relationships with her parents' Black servants. "They're just like family." Elizabeth has glimmers of recognition of their respective life situations, but it's still ick. I know enough about Oak Park to know my mother's family would not have been able to buy a house there when they did, because they were Jewish. My grandparents passed right in as part of the social scene, political scene, etc. No one knew, including Mom, that they were Jewish. Dam's portrait of the Klan that does not even mention the antisemitism of that group was weird. Each group was neatly separated, so that the good white folk all kind of disliked the more middle class Protestant white Klan members and the gang members are hanging out in a Frank Lloyd Wright house doing something inappropriate but nothing to see there. as far as neighbors and the police are concerned. Everyone lives in a bubble, with Elizabeth and her crew popping from bubble to bubble to solve the mysteries.
Overall, I found liked reading this novel, including pretending Al Capone would interact with a young woman from Oak Park. What I realized after finishing it was that the whole thing reads like a Nancy Drew book for adults. I liked Nancy Drew and I enjoyed this grownup version.
I love Elizabeth and loved this mystery that mixes historical and fictional characters. There's a lot going on and the plot is action packed and fast paced.
A good and solid historical mystery. The background is vivid and well researched and I was glad to catch with Elizabeth and Fred
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Elizabeth is an independent women who has suffered terrible loss. She learns how to break those walls down and how to deal with a controlling mother. She finds her self in the middle of a gang war, with many twists and turns until the mysteries are solved, with only a couple of people she can reach out to for help and support. Was the house she fell in love with worth it? This book is set in the early days of jazz music, and incorporated views of the music at the time very well. You get to know the characters very well and the storyline is very gripping. Although theirs is romance themes throughout there is so much more to this book. I highly recommend reading this story.
This is an exciting book which takes place in the midwest during prohibition. Fred convinces Elizabeth to go to a jazz concert at the Sunset Cafe in Chicago. Jazz is not considered to be a respectable thing to listen to, and the Sunset is a speakeasy run by gangsters. Much to her surprise, Elizabeth enjoys the concert, even though they have to leave fast when they hear an explosion. When Elizabeth hears that the Ku Klux Klan is planning to destroy the Sunset Cafe, she meets Al Capone in a church to tell him to get the Chicago Police to protect the club.
Elizabeth decides she wants to move out of her family house to be more independent. She asks Lucy, Fred's aunt, to help her find an apartment. After finding out that she might not be able to bring her cats or have a black housekeeper, she decides she'd rather buy her own house. The only problem is that the house she she really wants belongs to gangsters, and they will not sell it to her. Then, Elizabeth is abducted and driven away in a car with a bag over her head! She manages to get away, and a policeman finds her. Elizabeth is taken back to Lucy's house, and she agrees to marry Fred.
Elizabeth and Fred get married and then go north to a cottage owned by Elizabeth to get away from the gangsters. When it begins to rain hard, they get out and go to a hotel in Indiana. Elizabeth has decided to put on a charity jazz concert to stop the battles between the gangsters and the Klu Klux Klan and needs to meet Al Capone again to arrange it.
I thank Netgalley and Random House/Ballantine for an ARC.
Elizabeth, a young widow, finds herself caught up in a mess when she goes to a jazz club with her romantic interest Fred - and the Ku Klux Klan shows up. It's 1926 and she's at the epicenter of gangsters and racists and she inserts herself. That Al Capone owns the club only heightens the atmospherics. That said, this is an unlikely scenario and it overwhelms the mystery. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. I like Elizabeth and hope to see a less ambitious outing next time.
It's 1926 and, in this second installment of the Oak Park (IL) village mystery series, there's also jazz (controversial at the time), the Ku Klux Klan, and gangsters, including Al Capone.
A terrific plot with Beth Fairchild and her boyfriend, Fred the attorney, getting involved and in way over their heads, seemingly. With the great cast of secondary characters, this is truly an enjoyable mystery, one I'd highly recommend. The author's other series, the long-running Dorothy Martin series, is among my favorites but I really like this one as well.
Atmospheric and deftly plotted-characters are richly drawn-the details of this book are very fascinating and it gives a very vivid picture of life at this time.I was transported every time I picked up this highly imaginative story to July 1926. The masterly story telling and highly imaginative and wonderfully evocative of the mid 1920's.
When Elizabeth Fairchild's beau, Fred Wilkins, suggests going to Chicago's Sunset Club to see Louis Armstrong, the world's best trumpeter, in action, she faces a dilemma. The burgeoning jazz scene in the city is proving to be controversial, associated with gangsters and scandal. Even her dear friend Susannah refers to jazz as 'the devil's music'.
Intrigued, Elizabeth brushes her fears aside and visits the club with Fred, but an explosion causes panic - the Ku Klux Klan are intent on blowing up the club as part of a race war being waged in the city, and murder soon follows. Elizabeth has made herself a target, but she has a plan to save the club. The only problem is it involves jazz aficionado and the Sunset Club's owner, the country's most notorious criminal, Al Capone . . .
I found this book particularly interesting as I have an interest in Jazz and have CDs by Louis Armstrong when he played the trumpet and led his group before he started singing "It's A Wonderful World" etc
I was so impressed by the quality of this author's writing that I bought all of her previous titles in Kindle. format
I strongly recommend the book and I'm very grateful to the publisher and netgalley for the privilege of reading an advance copy for review purposes.
The second in the Oak Park village mystery series featuring Elizabeth Fairchild as protagonist and female sleuth in 1920s Chicago, complete with jazz, illegal booze, gangs, and the Ku Klux Klan. Elizabeth is helped in solving a mystery by friends, family, and the man who loves her and hopes to convince her to marry.
I have very mixed feelings about this series. I enjoy the settings, the characters, and the author's clear interest in the history, culture, and social habits of the period. The scene in the jazz club was fascinating to read. But Elizabeth gets into situations that just seem unbelievable for a woman of her era and social class and slightly ridiculous (her friendly chats with mobsters, for example, or trying to set two gangs against each other to solve a murder, or winning over the KKK with cookies). Three stars for the interesting backdrop.
Thanks to #NetGalley for the ARC.
The second outing in the Oak Park Village mystery series featuring the feisty, empathetic and charismatic Elizabeth Fairchild as protagonist and female sleuth, 1920’s Chicago set. Another intricately researched and detailed plot with a sympathetically drawn backdrop and description of the era, painting a well imagined scene throughout. The Chicago jazz scene is especially well depicted. The cast of characters is exceptionally crafted and the narrative well done and immersive. A worthy follow up to the first in the series.