Chicago jazz clubs in 1921 is the theme of the novel, “Sugarland: A Jazz Age Mystery” by Martha Conway. I was interested in reading this novel because of my love for the historical time period and my love of jazz music. This was a turbulent time in our nation’s history during Prohibition. The rise of gangs, gangsters, guns and bathtub gin in Chicago and elsewhere in our country was the way of the times. “Sugarland” is the story of Eve Riser, a young African-American musician who plays piano in the clubs on the jazz circuit. She witnesses an accidental killing of a white man by a black man. She is a pawn of the man trying to cover up the crime and agrees to deliver a letter and money to a man in Chicago. Since her step-sister is in Chicago, she travels willingly to take care of the mission. When she arrives she is unwittingly involved in another shooting. She becomes involved with a white girl, Lena, whose brother was killed in the shooting. She and Lena are caught up in the bootleggers’ operations and are in a very dangerous position.
I did enjoy this novel, but at times could not follow who was a part of what gang. The one thing that was quite striking in telling of the murders and crime was the absence of the police. The police were paid off to look the other way. It is interesting that our society now is seen to be crime-ridden, with gangs, guns, and drugs being prevalent, when almost one hundred years ago, we had the same problems. I was provided with a print copy of this novel by SmithPublicity.com in return for my honest review.