by Newton Love
December, 1930 — when the high times of the Roaring Twenties were sinking fast into the blues of the Great Depression and the mostly tolerated crime of rum-running and selling bootleg alcohol during Prohibition was all the rage, California’s San Mateo Coast was jumping. Despite hard times, there were still plenty of people who had money enough for the good life. Socialites, high-stakes gamblers, and movie stars flocked to the fashionable speakeasies, especially along the coasts, where real hooch could still be run in by night, Roulette wheels kept spinning, poker games shuffled along, and the dames were as gorgeously outfitted as ever. There, parties could continue virtually uninterrupted. At Frank’s Roadhouse in Half Moon Bay, the good life is in full swing. Until a blackmailer begins targeting Frank’s wealthy and well-known clientele.
Though retired from the American Detective Agency and living an unencumbered life in Mexico, The Detective’s unique skills are required to ferret out the blackmailer without either scaring away the rich and famous clientele at The Roadhouse, or alerting the Roadhouse owner, Frank Torres, who may be involved in the scam himself. Torres is wary about having The Detective as a guest at his Roadhouse, but he is a paying customer. Torres suspects ulterior motives, something beyond a mere vacation.
Discretion — even subterfuge — is imperative, especially since the Agency and its wealthy client, socialite Alma Spreckels, widow of the sugar magnate, have no idea which people at the Roadhouse are part of the complicated blackmailing scheme. All anyone knows for certain is that members of several wealthy families who stayed at the Roadhouse have been marks, and Mrs. Spreckels is paying big money to have it stopped — to safeguard her son, who’s one of the victims. Whether anyone else also benefits from her intervention is irrelevant to “Big Alma,” so long as her son, the heir to the vast Spreckels’ fortune, is protected.
The Agency Chief calls The Detective out of retirement to do this one last job. A perilous one involving criminals who are willing to prey on socialites and movie stars wealthy and courageous enough to fight back against blackmail.
Bootleggers, socialites, movie stars, blackmail.
It’s a dangerous cocktail.
And no one can guess how it will taste going down.
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Editorial description, cover design of Roadhouse Affairs
© 2104 by RockWay Press & Alexandria Szeman.
Cover Artwork “Onslow Avenue 2010”
© 2010, 2014 by John Hannah.
Used with the artist’s gracious permission.
Frank’s Place (Roadhouse) vintage photographs
© 2014 by Moss Beach Distillery.
Used with the MBD owners’ kind permission.
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