About The Book:
Murder at the Million Dollar Pier (Three Snowbirds)
by Gwen Mayo & Sarah E. Glenn
“Never waste good rum on a bad night.” – Teddy Lawless, February 1926.
There are many bad nights ahead for Teddy. Shortly after she arrives at the newly opened Vinoy Hotel in Saint Petersburg, she comes face to face with her ex-fiancé, Ansel Stevens, in the dining room. Cue the slap that was thirty years in the making. Unfortunately, her ex-fiancé dies during a yacht race shortly thereafter. Conclusion of the authorities: poison. His family closes ranks, leaving Teddy as the prime suspect. Worse, Teddy’s hair comb is found on the deck of Ansel’s boat, leading to her swift arrest.
Can Cornelia Pettijohn and Uncle Percival save fun-loving Teddy before she goes from the grand hotel to the big house?
The Bee’s Knees
In the 1920’s, “the bee’s knees” was slang that meant ‘the best.’ The Prohibition-era cocktail was a gin sour blend of lemon juice and honey that was created to mask the harsh “bathtub gin” smell. The earliest book to publish the recipe was the 1930 edition of San Francisco bartender and author Bill Boothby’s cocktail compendium World Drinks and How to Mix Them. However, the blend is believed to have originated in post-World War I Paris, where sugar was in short supply. The true origin of the drink is the subject of much debate and so far, there is no definitive answer.
There are several existing versions of The Bee’s Knees, including one that is still served at the Vinoy Park Hotel. They differ in some ways, but all of them agree on three basic ingredients: honey syrup, gin, and lemon juice.
1 Cocktail shaker of crushed ice.
2 oz. gin
1 oz. honey syrup
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Shake the liquids with crushed ice and strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon or orange twist and/or a sprig of fresh basil.
(Honey syrup is made by thinning honey with hot water. I recommend every 3 ounces of honey be thinned with one ounce of hot water. If you prefer a less sweet When drink use honey and hot water in a 1 to 1 ratio.)
A vacation to St. Petersburg for Cornelia Pettijohn, her uncle Percival, and fellow war nurse, Teddy Lawless, takes a turn for the worse when Teddy runs into her ex-fiance and promptly wallops him. That action among other reasons is why she becomes the prime suspect when the man turns up murdered a few days later. While his family plots against Teddy, it is up to Cornelia and Percival to track down the real killer.
Roaring Twenties historical fiction is a favorite of mine. It is the time when the rules for proper behavior began to be challenged and in many cases ignored. This showed most in women’s fashions and their push for independence from their families. There are wonderful examples of this in all of the main characters in this story. You have party girl Teddy who is no longer a girl contrasted with her more staid friend who would love to be so free but can’t quite bring herself there. There are also the Stevens girls, who despite a domineering father are pushing to make their own choices.
Descriptions of 1920’s St. Petersburg and its surroundings along with the upscale seaside hotel, The Vinoy as a backdrop for the story become almost characters in the story themselves. The spirit of building a new community comes thru superbly and I enjoyed the trips around town almost as much as solving the mystery.
I haven’t read the first book, but it is obvious that Cornelia and Teddy have a shared history and are quite close. This read well as a stand-alone. I am looking forward to further installments in this series.
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I received a complimentary evaluation copy of this book. All opinions and insights are my own.
About The Authors:
Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending the colorful history of her native Kentucky with her love for mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky.
Her stories have appeared in anthologies, at online short fiction sites, and in micro-fiction collections. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Gwen attended the University of Kentucky on a poetry scholarship but has an associate degree in business and a bachelor’s degree in political science. Interesting side note: Gwen was a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987.
Sarah E. Glenn loves mystery and horror stories, often with a sidecar of humor. Several have appeared in mystery and paranormal anthologies, including G.W. Thomas’ Ghostbreakers series, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, and Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Her great-great-aunt served as a nurse in WWI, and was injured by poison gas during the fighting. After being mustered out, she traveled widely. A hundred years later, ‘Aunt Dess’ would inspire Sarah to write stories she would likely not have approved of.
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