The Flapper, the Imposter, and the Stalker
The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker
by Charlene Bell Dietz
GENRE: Mystery, Historical, Suspense Novel
A privileged teenager from Minneapolis in 1923, scraps her college scholarship and runs away to become a flapper in dangerous, chaotic Chicago. In her search for illusive happiness, she confronts the mob and then must contrive a way to not be murdered.
Read an Excerpt:
Crystal stood and moved her hand toward the hall stairway. Sophie and Kathleen set their plates down and followed. Before they left the parlor Kathleen picked up her pocketbook and valise and nodded for Sophie to do the same. She didn’t want Crystal to rummage through their things while they were upstairs trying on dresses—or whatever they were to do. When they reached the top of the stairs, a door stood open at the far end of the long hall. A single hanging lightbulb illuminated a rack of dresses with shoes lined up underneath, and at the back stood a large chest of drawers.
“Goldie, I’ve told you—keep that door closed and locked. Now hurry.” The girl lunged down the hallway. Crystal guided Kathleen and Sophie into the first door on the right.
“This is one of the bedrooms. The other is right next to this. Down the hall next to the closet you’ll find the bathroom. We don’t have hot water, but I’m sure that’s not a problem when you consider your rent is free.”
“Free rent and free dresses?” Kathleen congratulated herself. Even with moths batting around in her brain, she knew a ploy when she heard it. Crystal pushed open the door into a small bedroom. The room contained a table, a chair, and a bed. With the shade pulled down, the cleanliness remained questionable, and the room smelled funny, maybe from sweat or body odor. Kathleen couldn’t identify it.
“Goldie does have an eye for size. This dress should do you nicely. Tell her what size shoe you wear. Now, let’s go next door and see what Goldie has for Sophie. Isn’t this fun?
About the Author:
Charlene Bell Dietz’s award-winning mystery novels The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur combines family saga with corporate espionage, and The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker propels readers back into 1923 in frenetic Chicago. The Scientist, the Psychic, and the nut gives readers a frightening Caribbean vacation. Her latest novel The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor is a historical biography about Lady Margaret Brent, the first American woman to be called an attorney, whose integrity and intelligence saves pre-colonial Maryland from devastation. This book won the New Mexico Press Women’s first place award and an award by the National Press Women. The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor will be released as a second edition by Artemesia Press in February 2024. Two of her Flapper books have won the coveted Kirkus stars, and two were named best book of 2018. Charlene, a retired educator, lives in the foothills of the mountains in central New Mexico where abundant wildlife, solitude, and natures’ beauty inspires her creativity.
Q&A With The Author:
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I knew little about prohibition or the Flapper era in Chicago during the Roaring Twenties. I’d watched some movies about Al Capone in Chicago—his bullet-ridden playground, and a few other flapper movies, but never really understood how people could party outrageously with alcohol, during the 1920s. That’s when probation started.
Seems the only thing illegal about alcohol was the manufacturing, selling and transporting. You didn’t break the law by drinking. The production and distribution of alcohol just went underground. Hence, Al Capone and other gangsters made a lot of money. Naturally, because the nature of teenagers is to rebel against their parents, many talented youths ran off to Chicago to become performers in speakeasys.
Bringing the music, fashion, slang, and all things 1923 to the page kept me doing deep research. Can you think of anything more fun to do than to learn about the songs, dances, and beverages of that time?
This story came about because I had an elderly aunt who ran away from home when she was sixteen, to become a flapper in Chicago. She wouldn’t tell me much, but to learn about the dangers, and daily-living thrills she experienced couldn’t have made me happier.
When writing this story, I worked to keep the protagonist’s life dreary, dark, and loveless, until she leaves her home in Minneapolis and runs away to Chicago. When she first steps off the train, everything changes. I wanted the reader to feel anxious, but also revel in the noisy, sparkly, ambiance of my protagonist’s new world.
You’ll have to let me know if you felt this when you read this story.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor will be released by Artemesia Publishing in February 2024. This story starts in England, 1638 and ends in pre-colonial Maryland in 1648. Lady Margaret Brent breaks society rules where women only obey the men and sit quietly in the background. When she arrived in Maryland, she became the guardian of an Indian Princess, built a fort to protect the Catholics against the Protestants, earned the right to be called an attorney by the gentlemen of the land, and because the executrix of the dying governor. She asked for the vote twice, 220 years before Susan B. Anthony, and each year the American Bar Association awards deserving women attorneys their Margaret Brent Award.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
I’ve just started the first of at least a three-book murder mystery set in New Mexico. As a long-time educator, I thought it would be interesting, and I hope engaging, to have this story take place in a failing high school in downtown Albuquerque. Naturally, as all my stories, it will be full of quirky characters, suspense, and some dead bodies.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing award-winning short stories, in 1992. Then my elderly aunt slammed into my life for me to care for her, when I knew I couldn’t handle one more thing. That’s when I decided she had a story too good not to tell. I’ve written three stories about her in this flapper series: The Scientist, the Flapper, and the Saboteur, The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker, and The Scientist, the Psychic, and the Nut.
Each of these books can be read alone.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
One thing I believe with all my heart is that writers would be nowhere without our readers. Because I walk my talk, I read constantly. I even read for contests. And here’s the most amusing part about all of this: The more I read, the better my writing. So, thank you, dear readers. Know you’re appreciated.
Connect with Charlene:
The book will be $0.99 during the tour.
Charlene Bell Dietz will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.