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The Speakeasy Murders
CONTENT WARNING: This book is a work of fiction. However, the author intended to create characters and settings historically accurate to the era it takes place in, the racially tumultuous 1920s. Certain terms used as racial descriptions now considered archaic, outdated or even offensive are used to reflect the past usage by both black and white Americans of that era. Particular themes regarding race, references to certain crimes such as murder and sexual assault are included as part of the fictional plot. The author provides this content description for any potential reader who may consider any of these subject matters or references too sensitive to consider.
It is the roaring 1920s in the city of Chicago. Helen Williams is an astute, but bashful upper class coloured detective. Helen obtained her position through a recommendation from her father after delaying an opportunity to attend Fisk University. Her mother spoke against Helen accepting the job. Williams assumed it because at the time, a young, refined, coloured woman being a detective was 'unladylike.' Her go to instrument is an heirloom magnifier she inherited from her hard working and well educated grandfather. Though some of her co-workers take some time to become accustomed to her quirks, she is admired for her detail, accepted and often called upon her colleagues for her insight. Williams has only heard of one other female coloured detective whom she never met. Helen is called in one night to help investigate some peculiar murders in which a field is often used and she now believes is the criminal mastermind's dumping ground. After a couple of days of discussing similar cases with her colleagues, Helen concludes that the executioner is a serial killer who also orders the killings. These activities stem from an underground nightclub. A group of criminals throw a brick into the station house to warn the officers to keep their investigations to crimes above ground. Lieutenant Henry Johnson orders the station on lockdown. After he lifts the lockdown, Johnson partners Williams with Patterson undercover to further investigate murders at the speakeasy. Stephen introduces Helen to his sister Ruby to help her undergo her transformation. Williams now appears as a flapper with her station house brother, Stephen accompanying her. She is surrounded by the unfamiliar, jazz music, alcoholic beverages, and the wildest dance crazes. Williams reminds herself to focus on the investigation. One night at the speakeasy, Helen is assaulted and nearly raped by a Negro male in one of the bigger rooms to the left of the main floor. His African male accomplice waits at the threshold of the room's door to make sure the job is done. She was able to maneuver and defend herself until Stephen nearly pummels him. Thaddeus sees the African man run and trips him, upon impact his skull is split on nails of floorboards. Helen runs out. Thaddeus carries her away and brings her to his flat. She is shy and cautious. The Englishman is protective of her. They increase in natural affection towards one another. The Englishman proposes to Helen and she accepts. One night at the speakeasy, Helen discovers a secret stairwell. It would be the gateway which leads her to solve the murders. Helen and Thaddeus will finally have the peace they earned, and the life destined for them to have--with each other.