Good Night, Angela is here!
Well, here we are, near the end of January and well into my least favorite season of the year, but it’s the weekend, yes? And there’s other good news to share. The third book in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Good Night, Angela, is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords.
Find the new book page, blurb, and an excerpt here.
Good Night, Angela is a stand-alone romantic mystery that can be read by itself, but if you haven’t caught the earlier books in the series, now may be a great time to start. Book One, It Had to Be You, is priced to sell at $0.99 at Amazon and other ebook retailers.
Welcome to Flappers & Jelly Beans! To celebrate the release of my new 1920s romantic mystery, Good Night, Angela, I’m talking about facts, fads, and headlines from America in the 1920s.
THE RED CARPET TREATMENT...
Ever wonder where the expression “getting the red carpet treatment” came from?
Today, we cross continents in a day, and if we’ve got the bucks, we can add some luxury by flying first class. But prior to World War II, commercial airline travel was still new and not very cushy. If one wanted to travel across land in first class style, that meant taking the train.
THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED
During the first half of the 20th century, a handful of trains were known the world over for luxury travel. In Europe one might hop aboard the Orient Express or Le Train Bleu. In America, well-heeled travelers took the Commodore Vanderbilt, the Broadway, or the 20th Century Limited.
Aside from the Orient Express, no train was more famous than the flagship of the New York Central line, the 20th Century Limited.
The Century, as it was called, was a luxury express that ran between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and La Salle Street Station in Chicago. In 1902, when it made its first run, the trip took 20 hours. By the mid-1930s, the travel time had been cut to 16 hours, 30 minutes.
The Century boasted the newest Pullman sleeping and dining cars. Staff included chefs, waiters, barbers, manicurists, ladies’ maids, and valets. The dinner menus rivaled the culinary standards at world class deluxe hotels—Russian caviar, filet mignon, lobster.
The passenger lists boasted the rich and famous: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Walter Chrysler, Coco Chanel, Enrico Caruso, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Bing Crosby.
One of its signature practices began in the 1930s. They rolled out a red carpet runner nearly the length of a football field for passengers boarding in New York. After that, the saying “getting the red carpet treatment” became synonymous with receiving first class customer service.
The Century had a British cocktail named after it—the 20th Century Cocktail—and, in 1934, a classic screwball comedy film, Twentieth Century, starring Carole Lombard and John Barrymore was set aboard the famous train.
Twentieth Century, (1 min. 58 sec. clip at TCM.com), 1934, Columbia Pictures, Carole Lombard and John Barrymore (Directed by Howard Hawks)
Other classic films with memorable scenes aboard the Century include Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959, Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint) and George Roy Hill’s The Sting (1973, Paul Newman, Robert Redford).
Times change, of course. By the end of the 1950s, jet travel was becoming the norm, and train travel was losing its cachet. The Century began to cater to more economical travelers. In December 1967, it made its final run to Chicago. The Century’s heyday was over, but its place in American history of travel will never be forgotten.
Traveling by rail in close quarters…
In Good Night, Angela, tabloid reporter Trixie Frank and homicide detective Sean Costigan put their no-hanky-panky-during-the-work-week rule to the test when their latest murder case requires them to travel overnight in close quarters to Chicago aboard the luxurious 20th Century Limited.
The hour grew late, and the observation car emptied. Sean and Trixie followed suit. They passed through an open section sleeper car with its lights dimmed and curtains pulled to reach their own car, which was likewise quiet.
When they found their compartments, Trixie opened her door first and was disappointed to find the lower berth had already been pulled down for the night.
Nuts. The service aboard the Century was far too efficient. She’d hoped to ask Sean for some gentlemanly assistance with her berth. Could she help it if, once they were inside her compartment, maybe the train went around a curve and they happened to fall together onto the open bed and nature took its course?
All right, yes. It was Monday, but they were alone, no one knew them and they had privacy. No nosy landladies with barking Fox Terriers and no night clerks at the Alhambra to clock their comings and goings.
“That’s some swell service,” Sean said from behind her in the corridor. “I guess that’s why they get the extra bucks for a ticket.”
Trixie bit her lower lip pensively. “Yes indeedy.” She yanked the door closed again and turned to face him. They were only inches apart. His hand rested against the door jamb above her head, fencing her in. She could feel his body heat. It drew her to him. Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me…
She smiled up at him sweetly. “Long day, huh? Tired?”
His gaze dropped to her mouth, then climbed slowly back up to her eyes. “Time to turn in.”
Big palooka. He knew exactly what was on her mind. It was on his mind too. They’d been flirting since before dinner, but he wouldn’t be the first to crack. Would she?
Have a great weekend!
Red Carpet – By Rickyrab (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
20th Century Limited – Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – Image available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under digital ID det.4a33145
Twentieth Century – Cropped Lobby Card – By Columbia Pictures () [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons