by C.K. Crigger
Details at the end of this post on how to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it.
Although I’m a dyed-in-the-wool fiction writer, my historical mystery series set in the American West of the late 1890s began with a snippet of truth gleaned from history discovered, of all places, in a library. I’m being facetious. Of course, a library!On this day, as I meandered through the stacks, I chanced upon a book that delved into old-time true crime. A story caught my eye about several villainous acts hat took place in the early 1900s. It involved a man of independent income (inherited, in other words) who lived with his mother in a rather opulent home. There came a time when a young girl disappeared from nearby, then another, and another. Most of the girls were accused of being prostitutes, but finally, there was one who most definitely was not. Even so, the police, as with the girls before her, did nothing. Years went by, and then someone found a small clue regarding this girl’s disappearance. A competent detective was finally assigned to the cold case. He discovered all the missing girls had been kept in the mansion’s basement until either the man grew bored and murdered her, or she died. Remember I said he lived with his mother? The question has always been, what did she know?
Murder and sex crimes are nothing new, but with this, I’d found my snippet. In the first book of this series, the crime’s setting is changed from California to Spokane, Washington—a wild and woolly place in 1896. The victims are pretty much as depicted. But, who was going to fight to bring justice to those girls? Not a police force full of sloth and graft.
And so, Miss China Bohannon, investigator, was born. A young woman with a brightly polished sense of fair play, who just happens to work for a retired brand inspector and his younger partner in a private detective agency. China goes from bookkeeper to sleuth whenever she gets the chance, and while she’s often put in danger, she’s determined to see justice done. Her perilous adventures do have their light side, even as she deals with murder. Accompanied by Nimble, her Bedlington Terrier, as long as she has her nine-inch hatpin and a .32 revolver in a side pocket, you’ll find her on a case. Six Dancing Damsels, just released, finds China’s life taking a new direction.
In Six Dancing Damsels, China is starting her own security business separate from her uncle’s detective agency. You see, she’s ambitious as well as bright. Her first order of business is hiring the help, a bigger problem than she expected, and then finding who put pepper in a dance troupe’s flowers. It isn’t long until one damsel turns up dead—but was she the wrong woman?
Theaters abounded in the Gilded Age, and Spokane’s Auditorium Theater had the biggest stage in the country at that time, beating out the big eastern cities like Chicago. New York City’s Hippodrome Theater finally took the honor some years later.
It never hurts to put a few historical facts in any book. As a reader, I love learning something new, especially about other places, even though my own piece of the world remains a constant inspiration.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Six Dancing Damsels, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “damsels,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 18, 2020. U.S. residents only for print copy, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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