Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Gin Mill Grill--A Sandi Webster Mystery

I'm hosting Marja McGraw on my blog this week. Marja has a new Sandi Webster mystery to tell us about. The floor is yours, Marja.

John, Thank you for having me as a guest today. I enjoy your posts and I’m delighted to be a part of your blog.

You might wonder how I came up with a storyline that involves speakeasies and gin mills. I was stuck for an idea and sat down with a large book filled with the front pages of newspapers. I can’t say the headlines grabbed my attention, but farther down the page you can find all kinds of stories.

We like to say that things were simpler in the old days, and that people were more innocent than we are now. That’s not necessarily true.

Through researching old newspapers I’ve found some sensational stories that involved things you’d think might happen today, but not back in the thirties or forties. People are people, and they do unexpected things for surprising reasons.

I’m getting off track. When I started reading some of the stories, the ones farther down the page, I ran across one regarding the murder of a man and the disappearance of his brother. Needless to say, the authorities thought of the disappearing brother as their prime suspect. To the best of their knowledge, he’d been in the house at the time of the murder and somehow managed to escape.

That’s all I needed. This brief story got the best of my imagination and the storyteller in me was off and running. I wanted an interesting time and location involved in the story and what might be better than a speakeasy during Prohibition? I needed a resolution to the disappearing brother, and I found one. I also needed someone who might even care about the brothers in current time, and I found just the woman. I also needed suspects, but considering the era it took a bit more work to come up with some characters who might still be living after so many years.

As the story unfolded, I wanted to include a really scary guy, and I came up with one I think might give you the shivers. His nickname was Water Boy and I think you’ll love letting him give you the chills.

Sandi Webster-Goldberg and her husband, Pete, have a reputation for solving cold cases and it didn’t take long for a woman to walk through their office door with an old case.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy occasionally having Sandi and Pete solve a cold case is because the victim is “off stage,” so to speak. They don’t have to face a recent murder and I don’t have to let gore sneak into my books. When the pair solve a current case, it’s a bit trickier.


Sandi and Pete have earned a reputation for solving old cases, and they’re approached by a woman who’d like a 1930s crime solved. A man was brutally murdered and his brother immediately disappeared. The authorities believed the brother was their best suspect, but they weren’t able to track him down.

Case closed – or was it?

With the discovery of a private room in the house where the crime was committed, Sandi and Pete must change their thought processes and start running down other suspects and looking at other locations, including an old speakeasy.

Why would someone in the current day try to put a halt to the investigation? After all, the murder took place in the 1930s.

Circumstances are often not as they seem, and this case is no exception.