Monday, June 17, 2013


About Bathing Beauties, Booze & Bullets:

It’s 1927 in Galveston, Texas—the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jasmine (“Jazz”) Cross is an ambitious 21-year-old society reporter for the Galveston Gazette who tries to be taken seriously by the good-old-boy staff, but the editors only assign her fluffy puff pieces, like writing profiles of bathing beauties. The last thing Jazz wants to do is compare make-up tips with ditzy dames competing in the Miss Universe contest, known as the “International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue.”

She’d rather help solve the murders of young prostitutes who turn up all over town, but city officials insist on burying the stories during Splash Day festivities. After Jazz gets to know the bathing beauties, she realizes there’s a lot more to them than just pretty faces and figures. Jazz becomes suspicious when she finds out the contest is also sponsored by the Maceos, aspiring Beach Gang leaders and co-owners of the Hollywood Dinner Club, where the girls will perform before the parade and pageant.

Worse, her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis, a speakeasy on a rival gang’s turf, asks her to call in a favor from handsome Prohibition Agent James Burton—an impossible request that could compromise both of their jobs and budding romance. While Agent Burton gives her the cold shoulder, she fends off advances from Colin Ferris, an attractive but dangerous gangster who threatens Sammy as well as Burton. In the end, she must risk it all to save her friends from a violent killer hell-bent on revenge. Inspired by actual events.

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About Ellen Mansoor Collier:

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer whose articles and essays have been published in several national magazines, including: FAMILY CIRCLE, MODERN BRIDE, GLAMOUR, BIOGRAPHY, COSMO, PLAYGIRL, etc. Several of her short stories have appeared in WOMAN’S WORLD. A flapper at heart, she’s the owner of DECODAME, specializing in Deco to retro vintage items (

Formerly she’s worked as a magazine editor, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism. During college, she once worked as a cocktail waitress, a short-lived experience since she was clueless about cocktails. FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY is her first novel. She lives in Houston and visits Galveston whenever possible.

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Reader review . . . 

In 1927 Galveston, Texas, it's time for the "International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue", and Jasmine "Jazz" Cross would like to be a serious reporter and leave the society pages behind.  But for now, she is assigned to cover the beauty pageant and write profiles on the contestants.  But everything is not beautiful in Galveston; there seems to be a serial killer leaving the bodies of young prostitutes around town.  Jazz finds herself involved, along with her half-brother Sammy and Prohibition Agent Burton, with whom she has the beginnings of a relationship.  The pageant is taking place in the middle of a turf war between the two local gangs, so when the gangsters get involved, the bullets start to fly.

Inspired by a true story, this is a fascinating look at the age of the flappers and gangsters.  Although it is a murder mystery, it is still a light read with fun references to 1920s slang and fashion.  

4 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cozy Mystery book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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Ellen C. said...

Thanks for featuring Bathing Beauties today--so glad you liked it! Best, Ellen


I had a blast! I hope you continue this series!

Ellen C. said...

How nice! I'll keep you posted--many thanks for the kind words! Best, Ellen


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