Title: Innocense Lost (Bootleggers' Chronicles #1)
Author: Sherilyn Decter
Genre: Historical Fiction
In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…
Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn't have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren't bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger's playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with criminal ties.
When her son's friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don't seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child's life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose.
Maggie's one advantage may be her oldest tenant: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?
Innocence Lost is the first novel in the Bootleggers' Chronicles, a series of historical fiction tales. If you like headstrong heroines, Prohibition-era criminal underworlds, and a touch of the paranormal, then you'll love Sherilyn Decter’s gripping tale.
Innocence Lost Excerpt
©2019 Sherilyn Decter
A satisfying afternoon of chopping, stirring, seasoning, and taste-testing, and supper is ready; despite the lingering guilt over Mrs. Leszek’s situation. Standing in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room, Peggy surveys two of the new lodgers gathered at her dining room table. She savors the moment. With a contented smile, she smooths her dress over her hips. No apron for me tonight. I’m the landlady.
Peggy loves the dining room. It reminds her of childhood dinners cooked by staff. She recalls carefree afternoons, new clothes, and indulgences that provided a soft place to fall—until she fell hard for Jack.
The dining room suite had been a wedding gift from her grandmother, who never held Peggy’s impetuousness against her. Peggy adored her for it. To her, the dining room suite’s elegant Federal style implied a certain place in the world. She loved Jack and all he stood for; yet attempted to replicate that which she missed from her own childhood home. Jack used to tease
her about it, his Principessa.
She and Jack had wallpapered the walls above the wainscoting, and painted all the woodwork a bright white to match the living room. At some point, she hopes to find a carpet to go under the table, but for now, the hardwood floors gleam.
A blue and white Spode soup tureen holds pride of place on the marble-topped sideboard. The tureen had also belonged to her grandmother and was part of the china dish set that she had left Peggy in her will. When Tommy was a toddler, he had broken the china ladle. Jack had glued it back together so that, with the tureen’s lid on, the set looked perfect.
Peggy gracefully perches on the chair her lodger, Mr. Mansfield, holds out for her. She admires the table with its starched white cloth and blue and white dishes. The elegance of the Spode is a talisman for her, a symbol of where she’d come from, and a nod to better days ahead. She’s sure there isn’t a nicer set of china in any of the houses along her street.
The smile of her other lodger, Mr. Smith, suggests an air of occasion; their first dinner all together. Almost all together. Peggy taps her foot. Tommy is extremely late from school. He is only just washing his hands in the kitchen. Constable Kelly sent word that he will be detained, and asked that she put a plate in the oven for him. Peggy sharply snaps open her napkin and lays it across her lap.
What do boys that age get up to? Tommy and Constable Kelly’s tardiness sets a bad example to the other lodgers, and is disrespectful of all my hard work putting together a delicious dinner for them.
About Sherilyn Decter
Do you love flappers and gangsters? See yourself in a fedora or fringe?
The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition were a fantasy land, coming right after the horrors and social upheaval of World War I. Even a century later, it all seems so exotic.
Women got the vote, started working outside the home, and (horrors!) smoked and drank in public places. They even went on unchaperoned dates (gasp)! Corsets were thrown into the back of the closets, and shoes were discovered to be an addictive fashion accessory after hemlines started to rise. And thanks to Prohibition, suddenly it was fashionable to break the law. The music was made in America- ragtime, delta blues, and of course jazz. Cocktails were created to hide the taste of the bathtub gin. Flappers were dancing, beads and fringes flying. Fedoras were tipped. And everyone was riding around in automobiles (aka struggle buggies and I leave it to your imagination why- wink.)
Bootleggers' Chronicles grew out of that fascination. Writing as Sherilyn Decter, I will eventually have a series of historical crime fiction novels dealing with the bootleggers, gangsters, flappers, public corruption, and the general lawlessness that defined Prohibition.
Growing up on the prairies and living next to the ocean, I am a creature of endless horizons. Writing allows me to discover what's just over the next one. I live in a century old house and perhaps its creaks and groans have inspired my love of history. My husband and I have three amazing daughters, a couple of spoiled grandchildren whom I adore, and two bad dogs.
For more information about Sherilyn Decter, visit her webpage at https://sherilyndecter.com
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