Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Browsing Area Book of the Week, March 18, 2013.

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, lust and the beautiful killers who inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry. HV6517.P475 2010.
In 1924, with Prohibition the law of the land, booze in Chicago was more prevalent than ever.  Speakeasies, illegal gin joints and jazz clubs were everywhere, well supplied by Dion O’Banion, Johnny Torrio and Johnny’s lieutenant, Al Capone.  It was also a time when women journalists were hired for the Sunday articles—home and fashion—and the men did the hard news. 
But Maurine Watkins, a preacher’s daughter from Indiana was determined to make it as a newswoman; she started at the Tribune covering homicides.  Chicago, after all, was rich with murder, even before the gang wars, and nothing was more peculiar than the tendency of women in the Second City to get drunk and shoot their boyfriends; nothing, that is, except the other peculiar fact that all-male jurors seemed to find an attractive young woman accused of murder “Not guilty.”
          For Maurine, with her religious morals, this was unconscionable.  Two beauties, Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner were both coming to trial, both of them guilty as hell.  Maurine tried to become the voice of justice and morals for the city, all the while swimming against the tides of sexism and sensationalism. 
But eventually, she would get a hit Broadway play out of it.


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