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Synopsis

To think of Chicago in the 1930s is to conjure up pictures of the Chicago Outfit and its earlier crime lords like Capone, to envision a gangsters’ and bootleggers’ haven in the Roaring Twenties and in the Depression that ended them. Even the storied history of the Cubs or of the city’s merchant princes and philanthropists can’t quite shake the city’s gritty image. It’s time for a new look. And here it is, a mystery with a warm family of widowed mother and four daughters at its core. Elodie (Elodie—rhymes with “melody”), the Browne family bread-winner, lacks direct experience with crime, but she’s full of curiosity, sharply observant, and nobody’s fool. So when a man stumbles into a party given by a Chinese importer of jade and antiques where she is working “for a lark—and extra cash” and utters a dying word—mingdow—she doesn’t turn aside. Instead she begins to connect the murder with some odd doings in the office building where she works, events that began one night when the elevator door opened on the wrong floor…. Elodie’s curiosity is up, and quickly bumps into a surprising intrusion of Chinese politics into the heart of Chicago. Her investigation sweeps the whole Browne family into unfamiliar and not very welcome territory…but leaves them with a taste for excitement sure to be slaked in future cases drawn by the master hand of author Holly Baxter.

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