Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Review: Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins

Today’s book takes us back to the age of Prohibition and speakeasies; Kerry Hammond loves this era and is here to tell us about the story.

Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins was released on April 30, in Trade Paperback, by Minotaur Books. This is the first book in a new Speakeasy Mystery series that takes place in Prohibition-era Chicago. Calkins is an award-winning author who also writes the historical series featuring chambermaid Lucy Campion. At Mystery Playground we’re huge fans of Speakeasies and you can see some of our favorites HERE. I jumped at the chance to check out a new mystery set during that time period.

In Murder Knocks Twice, we meet Gina Ricci, a young girl living in Chicago in the 1920s. Her Dad has just been forced to retire from his job due to medical reasons and she finds herself trying to find work so that she can support them both. A friend helps her get a job as a cigarette girl at The Third Door, one of Chicago’s most notorious speakeasies. It's the go to place for celebrities and it's rumored that the owners have the police on the payroll.

As much as Gina is excited about her new job, she can’t help but wonder about the girl she replaced. The previous cigarette girl was murdered and no one seems to want to talk about her. Marty, the creepy photographer at the club, tells Gina to stop asking questions, but when Gina tries to find out why, Marty is murdered and Gina is the only witness. Caught up in two mysterious deaths, Gina risks everything to find out the truth.

The author chose a great time period to set her new series, and if you’re going to write about speakeasies, Chicago is a great choice for a setting. In addition to Prohibition, you have the mob and crooked cops. At times I thought the writing got a bit bogged down and the facts included about the era, location, and real life players seemed thrown in deliberately rather than coming out in an organic way. But I really liked the characters and I enjoyed the unraveling of the story. I will definitely read the next installment, I think the series has a lot of potential.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

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