MURDER AT THE GALLIANO CLUB is my next release, set in upstate New York during Prohibition. The Galliano Club is an Italian social club for men, catering to mill workers producing the copper and iron to build America’s bridges, ship hulls, and power grids.
There are plenty of villains in the Galliano Club books. Mild-mannered accountant Owen Fisher is one of them. Tired of being pushed around by ex-Chicago gangster Benny Rotolo, Fisher takes matters into his own hands.
“Ted, hope you don’t mind me dropping in like this,” Owen said. His friend’s handshake was robust enough to dislocate a shoulder.
Ted beamed with the same intensity in his blue eyes that unnerved Owen in their college days. The man never changed; he was still sleekly handsome and addicted to gambling for fun and profit.
“Let me show you something before we get down to business,” Ted said. He took Owen by the elbow, propelled him across the hall and threw open another door. “What do you think? Two automobile shops, a tire repair garage, and a place to have a party every night.”
“If I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it,” Owen said.
The back of Empire Automobile Sales was a genuine speakeasy. Owen counted two dozen tables, upholstered benches in the corners, and a bar that ran the length of one wall. There was no décor to speak of besides dark blue velvet wallpaper but it was hard to tell because of all the activity. Workman were installing shelves above the
bar. More men stacked crates full of clinking bottles. Leggy girls in skimpy spangled costumes practiced a dance routine. They waved at Ted when they spotted the proprietor. Ted waved back. Owen had the feeling that Ted had carnal knowledge of all of them.
“Filled every night,” Ted said proudly. “Here. A souvenir of the best joint in New York.”
He scooped a dark blue matchbox off a table and tossed it to Owen. The Empire Club was written in fancy script. The tips of the matches were dark blue, too.
Everything about the place said high class and deep pockets. Owen murmured his compliments as they went back to the office. Ted closed the door, shutting out the sounds of hammering and tap dancing.
“Now.” Ted returned to his desk and offered Owen a cigar from a box of cubanos. “Tell me about the little problem you mentioned on the telephone.”
Owen accepted a light and inhaled the rich scent of tobacco, gathering his thoughts. He needed Ted’s help if the plan was going to work. “Well,” he said finally with a convincingly sheepish chuckle. “I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a pickle.”
Ted leaned back and puffed on his cigar. “Tell me all, Owen my boy.”
Two hours later, Owen left Empire Automobile Sales with more than a book of matches. He had some unexpected information, an even better plan, and a snub-nosed revolver in his pocket.
Read more about the upcoming Galliano Club series here: http://carmenamato.net/ galliano-club-mystery-series/