Review by Booklist Review
Looking for ways to take care of her disabled father, Gina Ricci accepts a job as a cigarette girl at Chicago's Third Door speakeasy. She soon befriends the club's photographer, Marty, who reveals that he's part of the wealthy North Side Irish family that disowned Gina's mother when she married a working-class Italian boy. Shortly after a reunion with his mother, the photographer is murdered. His dying request is for Gina to hide his camera and the film from his last day on Earth. Plucky Gina can't help but want to know what's on the film, and, with the help of a former cop who frequents the club, Gina teaches herself how to develop film and puts the pieces of Marty's death together. The details of Prohibition-era Chicago and the celebrity sightings will appeal to those who know the city's history. Jane Addams, Clarence Darrow, and even Amelia Earhart make cameos. An entertaining, light historical series from history professor Calkins, who also writes the award-winning Lucy Campion novels.--Karen Keefe Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Set in 1929 Chicago, this uneven series launch from Calkins (the Lucy Campion mysteries) introduces Gina Ricci, a former restaurant worker, who takes a job as a cigarette girl at the Third Door, one of the city's most lavish speakeasies. There she replaces Dorrie Edwards, who was stabbed to death the month before. On her break one night, Gina stumbles on the club's photographer, Marty Doyle, being assaulted in the alley beside the premises. Marty begs her to hide his camera before dying of stab wounds. After Gina smuggles the camera away, she feels compelled to discover if his photographs link to his death, as well as Dorrie's similar demise. A handsome club habituAc she knows only as Roark offers assistance, but when the apartment Gina shares with her widowed father is burgled and Gina is attacked in the street, she's not sure if anyone connected to the speakeasy is trustworthy. Calkins captures the era's contrasts and gives Gina an intriguing backstory, but the novel's slow start and heavy-handed use of period slang weaken its appeal. Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell Management. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
In 1929, a needy young woman lands a job in a Chicago speak-easy. What could possibly go wrong?Gina Ricci is the sole support of her father, whose worsening palsy is making it almost impossible for him to work. Her friend Lulu, who works at the Third Door, suggests that she apply to replace a cigarette girl who was recently murdered. The speak-easy is efficiently run by Signora Castallazzo and her mobster husband, Big Mike. Gina is soon immersed in a world of socialites, college kids, straying husbands, and veterans seeking escape from their problems. In addition to the attractive young women who sell drinks and put on a show watched over by vigilant bouncers, she meets Ned, a piano player who was in love with the murdered girl, and Marty Doyle, a photographer who turns out to be the favorite cousin of Gina's mother, who died when she was young. Gina's intrigued by what Marty can tell her about her mother's side of the family, Irish relatives who've never reached out to her. Another man who takes an interest in Gina is wounded veteran Lt. Roark, who's on leave from the police but still taking crime scene photos. While taking a break, she finds Marty near death from a stab wound. With his dying breath he asks her to hide his camera. When she goes to Marty's funeral, she meets some of her relatives and learns that she's his heir. Both of his two apartments, including the one he used as a darkroom, have been searched. Clearly, something on the last roll of film Marty shot poses a threat. Unable to trust anyone, Gina takes up Roark's offer to teach her how to develop and print photographs. She develops the film but can't figure out which of its pictures points to a ruthless killer.A spunky sleuth and plenty of period flavor enliven the first in a new series that takes Calkins (A Death Along the River Fleet, 2016, etc.) from English historicals to more recent but equally violent times. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.