A young widow on the edge. A policeman back from the dead. Together, can they take down the city's most notorious bootlegger? In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…
Philadelphia, 1925. With a son to raise and boarders to feed, Maggie Barnes is at her wit's end. But when a criminal element infiltrates the police force, the single mother puts her cares aside to help. As she tries to dig up dirt on bootlegger mastermind Mickey Duffy, Maggie realizes she can't take on the case alone.
Inspector Frank Geyer used to patrol the streets of Philadelphia before Maggie was born. As he attempts to clean up crime from beyond the grave, the spirit uses his Victorian sensibilities to fight back against lawbreakers. But with corruption throughout the police force, can the phantom informant save his city and Maggie’s livelihood?
With the roof leaking and the lawlessness spiraling, Maggie and Frank have one chance to take down a criminal and prevent the unthinkable.
Tasting the Apple is the second thrilling book in The Bootleggers' Chronicles historical mystery series. If you like strong female characters, stories inspired by actual history, and a touch of the paranormal, then you'll love Sherilyn Decter’s tale of temptation and corruption.
Q: Where does the inspiration for your character development come from? How do you decide which is the best fit for this particular story?
A: When I begin to plot a novel, the very first puzzle I need to solve is who is the main character going to be.
In the Bootleggers’ Chronicles I wanted that character to be a woman because the Roaring Twenties were such exciting times for women. They were really at the crossroads, with huge advancements in profound areas such as education, career advancement, property ownership, and voting. As well as in fun areas such as fashion and dating and of course Flapper slang. I knew a woman from that era would be fun to write about.
The second puzzle is what’s known in writer lingo as the character arch. How would this person change because of the action and situation in the story? In Bootleggers’, Maggie starts out as a woman her mother would recognize; suspicious of immigrants, a stay-at-home mother, not too sophisticated in the world of commerce. She defines herself in her roles as widow and mother.
Five books later, Maggie has attended university, is the senior partner of an accounting firm, and is very much her own woman. Much of this journey stems from her involvement with a police inspector as they attempt to limit the impact of the criminal underworld during Prohibition in Philadelphia. Those investigations put Maggie in several precarious situations and help to shape the dynamic woman she becomes.
One aspect that I found very intriguing was mirroring the impact of Prohibition and the Twenties on Philadelphia and on Maggie. The city itself is a very important character in the Bootlegger novels. As it was wrenched from the quiet days of the turn of the century through the trauma of the Great War, from the impact of thirteen years of Prohibition with the violence and corruption it inspired, to the final novel which ends the series during the early days of the Great Depression. These times were fundamental at shaping America and I wanted them to have a fundamental impact on Maggie, the other characters in the Bootlegger novels, and on Philly herself.
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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