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Murder Knocks Twice

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The first mystery in Susanna Calkins' captivating new series takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920's Chicago speakeasy. Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father--and to prove to herself that she can hold her own at Chicago's most notorious speakeasy, the Third Door. She's enchanted by the harsh, The first mystery in Susanna Calkins' captivating new series takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920's Chicago speakeasy. Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father--and to prove to herself that she can hold her own at Chicago's most notorious speakeasy, the Third Door. She's enchanted by the harsh, glamorous world she discovers: the sleek socialites sipping bootlegged cocktails, the rowdy ex-servicemen playing poker in a curtained back room, the flirtatious jazz pianist and the brooding photographer--all overseen by the club's imposing owner, Signora Castallazzo. But the staff buzzes with whispers about Gina's predecessor, who died under mysterious circumstances, and the photographer, Marty, warns her to be careful. When Marty is brutally murdered, with Gina as the only witness, she's determined to track down his killer. What secrets did Marty capture on his camera--and who would do anything to destroy it? As Gina searches for answers, she's pulled deeper into the shadowy truths hiding behind the Third Door.


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The first mystery in Susanna Calkins' captivating new series takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920's Chicago speakeasy. Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father--and to prove to herself that she can hold her own at Chicago's most notorious speakeasy, the Third Door. She's enchanted by the harsh, The first mystery in Susanna Calkins' captivating new series takes readers into the dark, dangerous, and glittering underworld of a 1920's Chicago speakeasy. Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father--and to prove to herself that she can hold her own at Chicago's most notorious speakeasy, the Third Door. She's enchanted by the harsh, glamorous world she discovers: the sleek socialites sipping bootlegged cocktails, the rowdy ex-servicemen playing poker in a curtained back room, the flirtatious jazz pianist and the brooding photographer--all overseen by the club's imposing owner, Signora Castallazzo. But the staff buzzes with whispers about Gina's predecessor, who died under mysterious circumstances, and the photographer, Marty, warns her to be careful. When Marty is brutally murdered, with Gina as the only witness, she's determined to track down his killer. What secrets did Marty capture on his camera--and who would do anything to destroy it? As Gina searches for answers, she's pulled deeper into the shadowy truths hiding behind the Third Door.

30 review for Murder Knocks Twice

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    The Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, Speakeasies, Flappers, Mobsters, The Great Depression and Corruption. Chicago had it all. Scary and glamorous, it was the place to be. But it wasn’t all glitz and glamour for everyone. Times were hard, jobs were scarce and fear was a constant companion. People sometimes went to work at jobs and under conditions that were dangerous and illegal. Gina Ricci lives in this world and needs money - money for drugs. Don’t judge. She needs money for the prescribed drugs f The Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, Speakeasies, Flappers, Mobsters, The Great Depression and Corruption. Chicago had it all. Scary and glamorous, it was the place to be. But it wasn’t all glitz and glamour for everyone. Times were hard, jobs were scarce and fear was a constant companion. People sometimes went to work at jobs and under conditions that were dangerous and illegal. Gina Ricci lives in this world and needs money - money for drugs. Don’t judge. She needs money for the prescribed drugs for her ailing, out of work Father. No luck seems to be turning into good luck when Gina lands a job at a speakeasy, The Third Door, as a cigarette girl. Assured that tips would be good, Gina sees a way off the emotional and financial rollercoaster she has been riding. The speakeasy is a thrilling place full of The Who’s Who of Chicago, dancing to jazz, drinking fancy concoctions and entering this world only if they knew the secret password. Soon Gina learns that all is not music and alcohol. The previous cigarette girl, Dorrie had died under mysterious circumstances. When Gina asks question about Dorrie, her coworkers tell her to mind her own business. That point is emphasized to Gina by Signora Castallazzo the “lady of stone and steel” owner of the Third Door. Only in-house photographer, Marty Doyle helps Gina until Gina witnesses his murder. Calkins novel evokes the sights and sounds of 1929 Chicago in a stylish murder mystery. The main characters are well developed and their dialogue seems authentic to the period. Gum cracking Gina is a person we’d like to meet again. Seems Calkins agrees as Murder Knocks Twice is labeled as Speakeasy Mystery #1. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #MurderKnocksTwice I

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anna Lee Huber

    Calkins deftly captures the language and atmosphere of Prohibition-era Chicago in all its glory and terror in the first book in her new series. She takes readers on a riotous ride through swinging speakeasies and dark, dank alleys, as her vibrant heroine stumbles onto a murder and a whole lot of trouble. Peppered with memorable characters and rich historical details, Murder Knocks Twice is sure to have readers asking for another round.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gail C.

    Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced digital read copy of MURDER KNOCKS TWICE by Susanna Calkins. This book features Gina Ricci as the central character who obtains a job in a speakeasy in her neighborhood during prohibition. The cast of characters at the speakeasy range from the autocratic, demanding Signora who runs the speakeasy to Ned, the drunken piano player, Rourk the war veteran turned policeman who is currently on leave because of an injury, a Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced digital read copy of MURDER KNOCKS TWICE by Susanna Calkins. This book features Gina Ricci as the central character who obtains a job in a speakeasy in her neighborhood during prohibition. The cast of characters at the speakeasy range from the autocratic, demanding Signora who runs the speakeasy to Ned, the drunken piano player, Rourk the war veteran turned policeman who is currently on leave because of an injury, and several female employees who wait tables and sing and dance as well as two bouncers and a bartender. The author has spent time researching speakeasys and this one has both a tea shop and a drugstore that serve as cover and a place for the employees and patrons to be during raids. Big Mike, the Signora’s husband has all the earmarks of being involved in shady dealings and is known to pay police money to look the other way. When Gina gets the job, she learns the photographer there, Marty, is actually her cousin on her mother’s side. When her mother, an Irish Catholic in Chicago, married Gina’s father, an Italian boxer, the family disowned her. Her mother died when Gina was young and she is now caring for her father who has developed palsy and can no longer work. These are just a few of the threads running through this book. It was difficult for me to get into the novel because I was unclear where the story was going. It is difficult to determine who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in the story. About halfway through the book there is a murder and Gina gets drawn into it as a witness no one knows about. She is given evidence by the victim before he dies and told to hide it. She doesn’t know who she can trust or what to do with the evidence she has. As Gina stumbles through events, she sets a course of action and the book becomes a little easier to follow. It was hampered somewhat by what felt like over-use of “gangster speak” throughout. Probably this is best defined as belonging to the noir sub-genre. However, Gina seems to be such an honest, straightforward young woman that she doesn’t quite fit that definition. Most of the other characters are more on the hard-boiled side, making it seem as if Gina is almost a fish out of water. If you like the prohibition era and enjoy being immersed in the speech and activities of that era, this may be more enjoyable for you. While the murder is not particularly gory or even given much space in the novel, it is not what I would define as a cozy. Since the murder doesn’t happen until almost half the book is over, it is not what I would consider a classic mystery story either. In short, I am at odds as to how to define this book and the audience for whom it would be appealing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I ended up really enjoying this:) Gina takes a job as a cigarette girl in a speakeasy to help take care of her dad. This is 1929 in Chicago, where most speakeasy's are owned by mobsters. Gina's already taking the place of a young girl who was murdered a few weeks before she took the job but shortly after, she witnesses another murder. One that ends up being closer to her than she knows. Gina becomes slightly obsessed with finding out what happened to these two and why. However, things aren't abo I ended up really enjoying this:) Gina takes a job as a cigarette girl in a speakeasy to help take care of her dad. This is 1929 in Chicago, where most speakeasy's are owned by mobsters. Gina's already taking the place of a young girl who was murdered a few weeks before she took the job but shortly after, she witnesses another murder. One that ends up being closer to her than she knows. Gina becomes slightly obsessed with finding out what happened to these two and why. However, things aren't about to become easy for her. I love cozy mysteries, especially ones set in the 20's. This had likable characters, a good storyline, and fun times. I will definitely be looking out for book 2! *Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    I think what I loved most about this book was how easily I was drawn into the world of 1920s Chicago. I've never even been to Chicago, yet it all felt familiar because of how vividly the author portrays the sleuth's surroundings. Combine that with colorful characters, a witty use of the period slang, lots of twists and turns, and you've got the perfect cocktail for a really fun read - shaken, not stirred!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karen KK

    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. 1920's Chicago speakeasy. Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father and stumbles into a murder. As Gina searches for answers, she’s pulled deeper into the shadowy truths. The writing was ok and the story moved along just fine, this is basically a clean story with no gory descriptions or extreme vulgar language. But, I don't know, I just got really tired of the many 'what if this or what if that' kind of quest I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. 1920's Chicago speakeasy. Gina Ricci takes on a job as a cigarette girl to earn money for her ailing father and stumbles into a murder. As Gina searches for answers, she’s pulled deeper into the shadowy truths. The writing was ok and the story moved along just fine, this is basically a clean story with no gory descriptions or extreme vulgar language. But, I don't know, I just got really tired of the many 'what if this or what if that' kind of questions. 2.25☆

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    Gina Ricci is thrilled when she lands a job at The Third Door, one of many speakeasies in 1929 Chicago. Her friend, Lulu, already works there, and she has promised the tips are good. Since Gina needs to support herself and her sick father, the promised money is very welcome, and the glitch, glamour, and possibility of meeting some celebrities captivates Gina. As Gina settles into her new job, she starts to hear that her predecessor was murdered, but no one seems willing to talk about it. Besides Gina Ricci is thrilled when she lands a job at The Third Door, one of many speakeasies in 1929 Chicago. Her friend, Lulu, already works there, and she has promised the tips are good. Since Gina needs to support herself and her sick father, the promised money is very welcome, and the glitch, glamour, and possibility of meeting some celebrities captivates Gina. As Gina settles into her new job, she starts to hear that her predecessor was murdered, but no one seems willing to talk about it. Besides, it happened away from The Third Door, so surely the murder was unrelated to the job Gina has now, right? Gina has just convinced herself of that when she witnesses a murder. Is she safe in her new job? Can she figure out what is really happening? Since I love history, especially US history, I’m always looking for promising sounding new historical mysteries to add to my to be read list. This one does a great job of bringing the era and location to life as we get plenty of discussions about life during the time, including celebrities of the day. However, this detail took away from the mystery. The murder I teased takes place a third of the way into the book, and that does make the plot move forward a little faster, but still, we could have used some more clues and red herrings. The climax does explain everything, but it feels very rushed. The characters are a little thin as well, although I did feel we got to know Gina and a couple others well. In you are interested in the time or location, I definitely recommend you pick up the book. Hopefully, with some things now established, the next in the series will be stronger. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    An engaging murder mystery. Full RTC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Fun to take a trip back in time, to a speak-easy in 1929. Calkins brings the setting and era to life, with just the right amount of historical detail. Gina Ricci is an appealing character, a young woman discovering things she hadn't known about herself and her family while she investigates the deaths of a young woman she never met and a photographer stabbed in a dark alley, right in front of her. A 2019 Agatha-Award nominee for Best Historical Novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Dee

    Calkins evokes the sights, sounds and smells of the Chicago days of speakeasies, Al Capone and Clarence Darrow. Her gum-cracking heroine, Gina Ricci, is hired to work at a gin joint as a cigarette girl, and before she knows it, she has discovered a long lost relative, and a pile of secrets to be unraveled. We don’t get many bread-crumbs leading up the uncovering of the bad guys in this novel, and the ending feels a bit rushed and unmotivated, but overall this is a fast-moving, entertaining histo Calkins evokes the sights, sounds and smells of the Chicago days of speakeasies, Al Capone and Clarence Darrow. Her gum-cracking heroine, Gina Ricci, is hired to work at a gin joint as a cigarette girl, and before she knows it, she has discovered a long lost relative, and a pile of secrets to be unraveled. We don’t get many bread-crumbs leading up the uncovering of the bad guys in this novel, and the ending feels a bit rushed and unmotivated, but overall this is a fast-moving, entertaining historical read. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    Murder Knocks Twice is a mystery story. The characters are likeable and engaging. The story is intriguing and entertaining and unfolds at a good pace with plenty of twists and turns. Overall, it's a cute fun read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    Murder Knocks Twice is light on the mystery and heavy on the meandering. The story is oh so slow. We're more than 100 pages in before anything of substance happens. Unfortunately, that something is the murder that's given away in the book's description. Really, if you're going to give a spoiler in the description, it should happen within the first few pages. Consequently, the only surprise with that aspect of the story was that he'd finally been murdered. The setting is fun. I enjoyed spending tim Murder Knocks Twice is light on the mystery and heavy on the meandering. The story is oh so slow. We're more than 100 pages in before anything of substance happens. Unfortunately, that something is the murder that's given away in the book's description. Really, if you're going to give a spoiler in the description, it should happen within the first few pages. Consequently, the only surprise with that aspect of the story was that he'd finally been murdered. The setting is fun. I enjoyed spending time in the speakeasy, at least initially. After a while, the content became repetitious, as we accompany Gina in serving drinks, selling cigarettes, and gossiping with and about her coworkers. Gina is a likable enough character. The others just sort of filled the space. In the end, I didn't really care what happened to any of them. *I received a review copy from the publisher, via Amazon Vine.*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Prohibition, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, Hull House, the very rich and the walking dead returned from The Great War, it's the 1920s in Chicago. A young woman gets a job as a cigarette girl to support herself and her father but understands little when she starts, only to learn far more than she ever wanted before long. Well researched and crafted to make you feel like you are there, and the characters are engaging and interesting. I really enjoyed reading it! I requested and received a free ebook cop Prohibition, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, Hull House, the very rich and the walking dead returned from The Great War, it's the 1920s in Chicago. A young woman gets a job as a cigarette girl to support herself and her father but understands little when she starts, only to learn far more than she ever wanted before long. Well researched and crafted to make you feel like you are there, and the characters are engaging and interesting. I really enjoyed reading it! I requested and received a free ebook copy from St Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Freeman

    Murder Knocks Twice pulls you into the danger and excitement of 1920s Chicago from the first page and doesn’t let up until the last. Calkins’ protagonist, Gina Ricci is a ‘trust no one’ woman of her time, and that instinct serves her well when a new friend, and long-lost cousin, is murdered at the speakeasy where they both work. In a world where what you know can get you killed, Gina keeps her cards close as she unravels the clues that will lead her to the murderer. A great first book in an exci Murder Knocks Twice pulls you into the danger and excitement of 1920s Chicago from the first page and doesn’t let up until the last. Calkins’ protagonist, Gina Ricci is a ‘trust no one’ woman of her time, and that instinct serves her well when a new friend, and long-lost cousin, is murdered at the speakeasy where they both work. In a world where what you know can get you killed, Gina keeps her cards close as she unravels the clues that will lead her to the murderer. A great first book in an exciting new series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aleen ~Lampshade Reader

    Originally posted on lampshadereader.com I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy, via Goodreads First Reads, of this book. Jeepers! What a mystery. I loved every word of this and totally enjoyed Gina's POV. With my love for anything 1920s-1930s, I haven't read a story that takes place in a Speakeasy. Those seedy, "sin" filled places, makes for plenty of excitement. In Murder Knocks Twice, Gina finds herself employed as a cigarette girl in an era where alcohol was forbidden, but bre Originally posted on lampshadereader.com I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy, via Goodreads First Reads, of this book. Jeepers! What a mystery. I loved every word of this and totally enjoyed Gina's POV. With my love for anything 1920s-1930s, I haven't read a story that takes place in a Speakeasy. Those seedy, "sin" filled places, makes for plenty of excitement. In Murder Knocks Twice, Gina finds herself employed as a cigarette girl in an era where alcohol was forbidden, but breaking the law was rampant. After finishing this book, my thoughts were, "I need more now." I loved getting to know Gina, Gooch, Ned, Roarke, the Signora, that I didn't want to leave their world. Their world being 1920s Chicago. Mobsters, prohibition, speakeasy's, shady characters galore. Capone, while not part of the story was still there in all of his glory. I loved the intertwining of history with the fiction of Gina's world. Gina, in order to makes ends meet and to support her ailing father, takes on a job as a cigarette girl at The Third Door. A Speakeasy run by the Signora and her husband. She replaces a girl who was stabbed on a train (mysterious in itself), and finds herself slowly digging deeper into the mysteries that surround her. I really enjoyed the realism of the dialogue and the fun banter between the characters. It might have started out slow, but once you start getting into the story, it really does pick up. I don't like that the blurb kind of gives away who gets murdered, but at least when it happens it still is a surprise. It's all about the how and the why of it. Marty was just the tip of the iceberg. True to mysteries (and a little nod to Hercule Poirot), the ending was fun with the whole group together as the murderer and plot is unveiled. I wouldn't call this a cozy mystery, but the murders aren't too violent (heh what a sentence). There is a little romance going on in here as well between Gina and Roarke, but since this is a series, it doesn't fully develop in the first book. But I do love the no nonsense of it all. This series is definitely one that I will follow up with. I can't wait for more. I mean, what else could happen to Gina?  

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    3.5 stars. "Murder Knocks Twice" is a story that takes place in Prohibition Era Chicago. Our heroine Gina gets a job at a speakeasy in order to bring a little money in for her and her father. Her employers Big Mike and Signora happen to be friends of her father and they begin to shed light on the many things that Gina never knew about her father. She also discovers that Marty, the photographer at the club, is a cousin of her mother's, who Gina never really knew. This is a solid kickoff to a new 3.5 stars. "Murder Knocks Twice" is a story that takes place in Prohibition Era Chicago. Our heroine Gina gets a job at a speakeasy in order to bring a little money in for her and her father. Her employers Big Mike and Signora happen to be friends of her father and they begin to shed light on the many things that Gina never knew about her father. She also discovers that Marty, the photographer at the club, is a cousin of her mother's, who Gina never really knew. This is a solid kickoff to a new mystery series by Susanna Calkins. The characters in the book are great. We have a great heroine in Gina, who doesn't realize how dark things will get. Gina just wants to make some money but she didn't realize just how working in a speakeasy will upend her life. She is a little naive at first but as she starts uncovering what is really going on, her independent streak begins to shine through. Mafia, speakeasies, flappers - there are few settings that have the sort of ambiance and excitement than the Prohibition Era. Having the book set in Chicago added a bit more excitement. I loved the detail that the author infused to really give the book a sense of place. I loved the cameos by the likes of Jane Addams and Amelia Earhart (one of my personal favorites). The setting definitely added to the book! I liked the writing! It did take a bit to see where the story was going as there was a lot of explanation of Gina's employment and the murder mystery really doesn't hit for awhile. The book eventually hits a very nice pace and I was excited to see that Goodreads hints at this being the beginning of a new series - count me excited!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Lawrence

    3.5 stars This retro-covered novel was an entertaining cozy mystery set in 1920 Chicago in one of the undercover speakeasies. It follows Gina Ricci, a good girl just trying to make a living any way she can to support herself and her ailing father. She finds a job as a cigarette girl, a replacement for the previous girl who went missing, and though the circumstances are dire, she needs the job. Before long, she discovers not only a long lost cousin, but also that she’s caught in the midst of a mur 3.5 stars This retro-covered novel was an entertaining cozy mystery set in 1920 Chicago in one of the undercover speakeasies. It follows Gina Ricci, a good girl just trying to make a living any way she can to support herself and her ailing father. She finds a job as a cigarette girl, a replacement for the previous girl who went missing, and though the circumstances are dire, she needs the job. Before long, she discovers not only a long lost cousin, but also that she’s caught in the midst of a murder investigation. She is inadvertently drawn in and is forced to investigate on her own out of necessity. This story is an atmospheric, historical cozy mystery that is well-thought out and understandable. It is fairly layered and an entertaining mystery.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lori Bonkoski

    I enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and the story flowed well. Gina needs to make some money and ends up working at a speakeasy in 1920's Chicago. Lots of interesting historical information and I loved that Gina is an independent woman in her own right. I look forward to more in this series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    When a photographer is stabbed outside of a speakeasy in Chicago, a young woman is pulled into a dangerous world after she agrees to his final words and hides an important clue. A glitzy and corrupt Prohibition-era Chicago makes for a fun setting, with snappy dialogue, in this captivating historical whodunnit.

  20. 4 out of 5

    nikkia neil

    I was given a ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. Susanna Calkins goes in a wonderful new direction with this series. It's her classic style in the 1920's. I loved the setup of this new series. You'll be on your toes waiting for more too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I really enjoyed this first Speakeasy mystery with Gina Ricci, a "cigarette girl", who is also an amateur photographer. After Gina takes the job, she learns that she is the replacement for a girl who died under mysterious circumstances. Curious, she starts asking questions. I will continue with the series, and already have requested the second one from the library.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress... …. Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a copy of this book to read and review. …. I enjoyed diving into the world of speakeasies during the 1920s in Chicago. This novel was a nice, light read that explores a big of the past as we are introduced to many characters and employees of the notorious Chicago speakeasy – the Third Door. We get glimpses of the past and what life was like during the 1920s. We are introduced to Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress... …. Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a copy of this book to read and review. …. I enjoyed diving into the world of speakeasies during the 1920s in Chicago. This novel was a nice, light read that explores a big of the past as we are introduced to many characters and employees of the notorious Chicago speakeasy – the Third Door. We get glimpses of the past and what life was like during the 1920s. We are introduced to a variety of interesting and complex characters – from Gina Ricci who takes on a new job at the speakeasy to make money to help with her ailing father, Marty the photographer, Signora the club owner, and many more. Gina was a friendly and likeable main character and I loved the fact that this book had a female lead. While reading this book I felt as though I myself were sitting right there with them in the speakeasy, and it felt like I was a part of the whole story. This book was an interesting read from beginning to end, that I quite enjoyed. Who Killed Marty? Why would they want him dead? Will Gina be able to uncover the truth?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Gina is a smart, clever, young woman who has taken a job in a Chicago speakeasy as a way to earn a living while she takes care of her ailing father. When not working as a cigarette girl at the club she has taught herself how to fix the electrical appliances that her dad used to fix in order to make sure that end of the business doesn't falter. Gotta love her determination. Shortly after she starts working at the club, the photographer is murdered right in front of Gina. Of course she gets involv Gina is a smart, clever, young woman who has taken a job in a Chicago speakeasy as a way to earn a living while she takes care of her ailing father. When not working as a cigarette girl at the club she has taught herself how to fix the electrical appliances that her dad used to fix in order to make sure that end of the business doesn't falter. Gotta love her determination. Shortly after she starts working at the club, the photographer is murdered right in front of Gina. Of course she gets involved in trying to figure out what happened, how does it relate to the club, the death of the previous cigarette girl and possible her own family?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Such a fun read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    Murder Knocks Twice is the first book in the A Speakeasy Murder series. It’s January 1929 and Gina Ricci has been looking for a job and jobs are mighty scarce in Chicago. Gina’s father has repaired electrical appliances and radios, but with his failing health and not be able to work, Gina needs to find a job to pay the rent and put food on the table for them. One day, Gina is shopping at the grocery store, she runs into Lulu, a friend who she hasn’t seen in years. Lulu who works at The Third Door Murder Knocks Twice is the first book in the A Speakeasy Murder series. It’s January 1929 and Gina Ricci has been looking for a job and jobs are mighty scarce in Chicago. Gina’s father has repaired electrical appliances and radios, but with his failing health and not be able to work, Gina needs to find a job to pay the rent and put food on the table for them. One day, Gina is shopping at the grocery store, she runs into Lulu, a friend who she hasn’t seen in years. Lulu who works at The Third Door, a speakeasy tells Gina that the speakeasy is looking for a cigarette girl and that she should go and apply for the job. Gina meets with the owner, Signora Castallazzo and quickly finds herself the newest cigarette girl at The Third Door. For the most part, she enjoys the job and is quite impressed with clientele that frequent the speakeasy, the ex-servicemen who play poker in the backroom. But she wishes that the club’s jazz pianist Ned, ease up on being so friendly towards her and also wishes the club’s photographer, Marty Doyle, would be a little more of a conversationalist. She is also impressed how easily the speakeasy can be converted into a reputable business very quickly and it’s patrons to safety in case they would be raided. A lot of the talk among her fellow workers is the way the previous girl met her demise. Then one evening Gina is in the alley behind the speakeasy when she hears a disturbance. As she follows the moaning she comes across the brutally beaten body of Marty Doyle. As she bends down to talk to him, he reaches inside his coat and hands her his camera and his dying words were: keep this safe and trust no one. She believes there must be something incriminating on the roll of film that is in the camera. But how will she get the film developed and can she get it done before someone finds out that she had Marty’s camera. I really enjoyed this new historical series. It is a well-plotted and told story that moves at a fairly quick pace. There is a well-developed cast of believable characters and I’m really interested in where the series will be going.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan Radovich

    Calkins is a perfectionist for getting details correct for the time/place that her mysteries are set in. She begins a new series with MURDER KNOCKS TWICE, jumping from seventeenth-century England to Chicago in the late 1920s, the era of Al Capone. Gina Ricci needs a job to help out her ailing father, and she finds it at The Third Door, a speakeasy. The place is always buzzing with excitement and Chicago's socialites and soon enough murder. Gina is the only witness to the murder and she has to so Calkins is a perfectionist for getting details correct for the time/place that her mysteries are set in. She begins a new series with MURDER KNOCKS TWICE, jumping from seventeenth-century England to Chicago in the late 1920s, the era of Al Capone. Gina Ricci needs a job to help out her ailing father, and she finds it at The Third Door, a speakeasy. The place is always buzzing with excitement and Chicago's socialites and soon enough murder. Gina is the only witness to the murder and she has to solve it. Along the way, she finds out many secrets hidden at The Third Door. This new story is filled with great characters, plenty of action, sub-plots that all weave into a perfect ending, but the accurate details are what make this novel shine. As she did with the Lucy Campion series, Calkins makes you believe that every word uttered by a character was said in 1929. The apparel worn, food/drink consumed, locations.. all are real. You are in for a ride through dark alleyways and smoke-filled speakeasies, on the trail of a killer. A great read that leaves you eager for the next ride.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lorene

    Susanna Calkins has done it again! She has created another absorbing mystery series featuring a strong female lead character who does not feel confined by the norms of the times. This book is clearly very well researched. I loved all of the details about Chicago in the 1920s. I can't wait to see what Gina gets into in the next book, but I hope she runs into Jane Addams and Amelia Earhart again. I received this title as a galley from Netgalley and I really liked it. I highly recommend reading thi Susanna Calkins has done it again! She has created another absorbing mystery series featuring a strong female lead character who does not feel confined by the norms of the times. This book is clearly very well researched. I loved all of the details about Chicago in the 1920s. I can't wait to see what Gina gets into in the next book, but I hope she runs into Jane Addams and Amelia Earhart again. I received this title as a galley from Netgalley and I really liked it. I highly recommend reading this book, but make sure you have a lot of time because you won't be able to put it down. I read it in two sittings.

  28. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Chandlar

    I loved this 1920's Chicago mystery. There is something compelling about the characters and the world Calkins creates that made me wish I could keep reading even after The End. I can't WAIT for another one to devour. I loved the characters and found myself enjoying them like friends. I stayed up WAY too late a few nights because I just lost track of time, I was enjoying myself so much.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Billie

    The mystery was fine, but I wanted Gina to be more...something. Tougher? Sassier? Snarkier? All of those? She was, unfortunately, too much of a good girl to be terribly interesting, especially in the environment in which she found herself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Susanna Calkins had a wonderful series set in 17th century England, featuring maid turned bookseller Lucy Campion. Those were slightly more serious in tone than this delightful new series launch from this talented writer. Murder Knocks Twice is set in prohibition era Chicago, with all the attendant issues of the mob, the past war, and the depression coming into play. Series heroine Gina Ricci is out of work and finds a job at a speakeasy through a friend. She’s a little unsure about working there Susanna Calkins had a wonderful series set in 17th century England, featuring maid turned bookseller Lucy Campion. Those were slightly more serious in tone than this delightful new series launch from this talented writer. Murder Knocks Twice is set in prohibition era Chicago, with all the attendant issues of the mob, the past war, and the depression coming into play. Series heroine Gina Ricci is out of work and finds a job at a speakeasy through a friend. She’s a little unsure about working there – she’s worried about what her father will think, for one thing – and for another, she’s replacing a girl who was killed and that makes her slightly wary. Calkins has a brisk story telling style, and she quickly establishes her setting and a wide array of characters. She’s very good at delineating characters and making them memorable; I was never unsure or trying to remember who she was talking about, and to me, that’s the mark of a very good writer. Calkins sets up Gina’s backstory really well. Her father, who works repairing radios, lamps and clocks (what a faraway time, when those things were repaired instead of thrown away), but now has Parkinson’s and can’t really do much work. Gina fills in for him and loves to tinker. Her mother and brother are both dead, and her mother’s family has never been a part of her life (her father is Italian, and her mother was Irish, which at the time, was a difficult chasm to bridge) so when she discovers the photographer at the club is a cousin who loved her mother she’s delighted. Unfortunately the cousin is murdered right in front of her and her efforts to follow his dying wish causes all kinds of confusion and violence. He was a photographer, and she was asked to hide his camera. Since she loves to tinker and figure things out so she teaches herself photography and learns how to develop film, which helps lead to the solution to the crime(s) in the novel. In this first outing, Gina is not sure who she should trust, and she’s learning a new job as well, so there’s lots of setting and character to establish. One of the more interesting things in the novel was the speakeasy where Gina works as a cigarette girl, and the inner machinations necessary to run that kind of business during prohibition. In film this is well traveled territory and so as readers we may come armed with knowledge, but Calkins still manages to surprise you as you read. This is a wonderful first in a series outing – I’m already hoping for more.

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