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Ellen Mansoor Collier Books In Order

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Publication Order of A Jazz Age Mystery Books

Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gold Diggers, Gamblers and Guns (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

(Bio written by Ellen – thanks so much Ellen!)

Before Las Vegas, Galveston, Texas was called the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Real-life rival gangs fight over booze and bars during Prohibition in this soft-boiled Jazz Age mystery series. Inspired by actual events, places, and people, Collier’s series recreates Galveston’s gangster past during the 1920s, when bankers rubbed elbows with bootleggers and dirty cops made shady deals with gang leaders.

Growing up in Houston, Ellen Mansoor Collier spent summers visiting Galveston with family and friends for parties, dinners, dates, formals—she and her husband Gary even stayed at the Hotel Galvez on their honeymoon.

But it wasn’t until a trip to Chicago where they toured Al Capone’s haunts did she become aware of Galveston’s own illicit hush-hush history.

A sophisticated, international town during the Victorian era—known as the “the Wall Street of the South—the 1900 Storm devastated Galveston, killing up to 8000 locals—taking years of development for the area to recover.

A magazine writer and editor, Collier was fascinated with the sordid side of Galveston’s history that locals tended to overlook: the rival gangs who fought turf wars over speakeasies and brothels, the bootleggers who often passed off bathtub booze as the real deal, the high society crowd who shunned the gangsters in public but gladly took their “donations” in private.

The soft-boiled series highlights different aspects of Galveston’s Roaring Twenties era, including the bathing beauty pageants, the luxurious hotels and
snooty society events, not to mention the fancy dinner clubs that doubled as casinos. Tourists knew that Market Street and Post Office Street housed the speakeasies, bordellos, and gambling halls that drew in visitors by the thousands and made Galveston prosperous once again. In fact, the gang leaders’ illegal enterprises kept the small town bustling during Prohibition and well into the Depression.

The five-part series features Jazz Cross, an ambitious young society reporter who feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette. In FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY, Jazz tries to protect her brother Sammy after his bar is raided by a dashing Prohibition agent, James Burton—and Sammy is later accused of murder.

BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS recreates the early bathing beauty contest—the “International Pageant of Pulchritude,” later becoming the original “Miss Universe” pageant where gals all over the world tried their luck at winning fame and fortune. GOLD DIGGERS, GAMBLERS, AND GUNS highlights actual nightclubs and gambling houses once renowned in Galveston.

VAMPS, VILLAINS AND VAUDEVILLE showcases the fading popularity of live acts and the desperate measures performers and producers took to hold onto
past glories and gains. Finally, DECO DAMES, DEMON RUM AND DEATH depicts the public’s fascination with fortune-tellers and seers, set against a backdrop of secret societies and clandestine meetings. Throughout the series, Jazz attempts to protect her black-sheep half-brother Sammy at all costs, often risking her
reputation, her career, her budding romance with Agent Burton—and even her life.

Though inspired by actual events, the plots, characters, and details are fictionalized to protect the guilty parties—as well as the author.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ellen Mansoor Collier

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