Time for a confession. I chose this unromantic topic as an intro to my new book. After discovering that I was scheduled to blog on the most romantic day of the year, I scrambled to find a connection to the holiday. Did I find it? Read on.
In December 1917, a permanent ban on the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages was enacted by passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment was ratified in January of 1919 and took effect a year later.
Proponents of this so called “noble experiment” claimed that without alcohol the nation’s health would improve and crime would drop. It was also claimed that industries like dairy, would prosper as other types of beverages increased in popularity to fill the void left by the absence of alcohol. Juvenile delinquency was also supposed to be virtually eliminated.
By the time the 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933, it was obvious that the measure was a failure. Instead of promoting health, the opposite was true. The illegal products brewed in hidden rooms or backwoods stills were often dangerous or much higher in alcohol content than the beer, wines and spirits they replaced.
The attempt to decrease the “evils” of alcohol actually created more – and new – types of crime. Since illegal activity was required to market the illegal alcohol, criminal activity became organized and led to the rise of powerful crime syndicates that used murder, and the bribery of public officials to move large quantities of the illegal substance. Criminals like Al Capone rose to power as gangs battled for control, climaxing in the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929. (And there you have it. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!)
U.S. Marshals (see photo) were the principal enforcing agents of the Prohibition laws until the Treasury Department created the Bureau of Prohibition in 1927. This brings me to U.S. Deputy Marshal Ethan Beaudry, the hero of my March book, THE WIDOWED BRIDE. Ethan comes to Dutchman’s Creek, Colorado in the summer of 1920 to break up a bootlegging ring.
He meets his match in statuesque, flame-haired Ruby Rumford who came storming into the last chapter of THE HORSEMAN’S BRIDE. Ruby has moved to Dutchman’s Creek to be near her brother and make a new start. But she’s a lady with secrets – secrets that cause Ethan to suspect the worst of her. Can he do his job, even if it means arresting the woman who’s stolen his heart?
You can learn more and read an excerpt on my website: www.elizabethlaneauthor.com And I’ll be giving away one copy of THE WIDOWED BRIDE for every ten readers who post. So you’ll have a one-in-ten chance of winning. Good luck.