Book Review: Sugarland by Martha Conway

January 18, 2024
Book Reviews

Sugarland by Martha Conway


Cover of Sugarland by Martha Conway

A riveting mystery set in Chicago in the Roaring 20’s. The action starts off literally with a bang which sets Eve Riser on her journey to Chicago. There she hopes to connect with her sister, nightclub singer, Chickie (who has secrets of her own). Eve is a musician and familiar with music clubs and the dubious characters who frequent them. 

Unfortunately, Eve’s troubles are just beginning when she’s caught in the crossfire of a very public shooting. Luckily Eve finds an ally (and a nurse) in Lena. And as it turns out, it was Lena’s brother who was killed. 

This sets up a story that twists and turns its way between Prohibition-era underworld figures and the lives of average people just trying to get by. Eve and Lena investigate the reason for the killing while they navigate a racially segregated society. Their unlikely partnership is the foundation of the story. Two strong, independent women who are at times world weary, yet never resigned to accept the roles society has placed them in.

 The author has woven in countless references of the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the era. It’s not like taking modern characters and dropping them into a time period with no real markers to define it. She’s done her research and it shows. 

Eve and Lena are fully drawn characters and I was rooting for them to win out over the forces aligned against them. But, when they solve the mystery they must also face betrayal and heartbreak when the truth is revealed. A well-paced and suspenseful mystery set in a world where love and loss are always closely connected. (Received a review copy.)

Read an interview with author Martha Conway here:

Amazon link: Sugarland: A Jazz Age Mystery

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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