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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 Certain terms used as racial descriptions now considered archaic, outdated or even offensive are used to reflect the past usage by both black and white Americans of that era.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.  

❤️❤️Sweeter Romance


"I stand by what I said, Helen." Thaddeus was not so shy. He leaned in to kiss her. She pulled back.

'Not here,' she thought. Thaddeus held the back of her head with his left hand. "I told you I don't care..."

"...but...Thaddeus." It was too late. Her fiancé pressed his soft lips against hers for a few more seconds. Helen held onto the base of his neck near the bottom of his shirt collar. She did not know what overcame her fiancé. This was not only unusual for him, he knew how much she would be against it. He pecked her mouth a couple of times before stopping and returning to his seat which was only inches away. Helen took the back of her finger and wiped the corners of her mouth. She picked up a napkin and smoothed it along his lips. He rested his arm on the table, facing her closely to one side. The detective did not realize it, but he only kissed in that manner so as to quell what he suspected was the budding suspicion of their serious dialogue. When he looked around, the only glances were of social curiosity. Helen was still reeling from what he did. She did not know whether to be angry or let it go as she felt so carefree when she felt Thaddeus so near. 

"Should I be -I mean what could you possibly be thinking?" Even Stephen witnessed Thaddeus and Helen's overt display which took her fiancé several moments to complete. Patterson would tell her to stop and she only did when she found his reaction too humourous to withhold her own. Fortunate for them all, too many people were still dancing and several others had become inebriated. After just a few minutes, Helen saw another figure walk the same pathway outside that window and towards the same direction as the first. 'They are both here,' she thought. She had to consider that there could be more. The detective needed reinforcements. She believed she would likely need at least one more person besides Stephen. It could not be Thaddeus. She would not allow it. Helen was just as protective of her gentleman as he was of her. They would always safeguard one another from threats to themselves; what they had begun to build as a life with one another. Williams drank some water.

"Still recuperating, Helen?" Thaddeus just could not stop teasing her.  Ironically, she appreciated the light-hearted moment he provided her. "I might as well get that off from you." He cleared off the remainder of her smeared lipstick. "You did not need any of that anyway." She mummed and puckered her lips twice. "Oh, do you wish for me to finish, my sweet?" He pushed himself upwards with his right hand anchored against the table. Helen gently pushed him back down with her right hand.

"I will return from the powder room shortly."

"I am right here. I'll be right here." Helen turned and blew him a kiss. The small feather of the rosette bounced along with her step. She had to gather herself. Williams stood against a wall and raised her right dress heel flat against it, looking towards the ceiling, darkened from the lack of light. It was the last official investigation she would conduct. But more than that, she was preparing to say goodbye to whom she knew would have to die soon. Thaddeus had already left from the table. He stood by the window nearest to the wall where that stairwell was. As soon as he saw Helen return from the powder room, he turned, pretending to look out that window. The detective thought she slipped by him. Her fiancé quickly turned around and entered only one foot behind. Stephen watched them both enter. He shook his head in disbelief as to what Thaddeus just inserted himself to. Helen had her shoes in hand. The dress she had no shimmer to light her way. Suddenly she felt someone's hand touch the base of her wait before she attempted her ascent. The detective did not hear anyone sneak behind her. Before she was to yelp, Thaddeus covered her mouth and pulled out a lighter he swiped from one of the tables.

"Slowly Helen," her fiancé whispered. Williams turned only her head. He flicked the light with a small light. Helen exhaled in relief. "It's me," he whispered. "I told you I won't allow anything to happen to you." 

Patricia M. Muhammad © All rights reserved 2022-2024
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