The Jazz Palace by Mary Morris (♦♦♦♦)
Tragedy seems to follow Benny Lehrman since he was a young boy. Now at fifteen, he faces tragedy again on Chicago’s wharf as the SS Eastman has sunk before his very eyes taking with it three siblings of the Chimbrova family who is bidding farewell to the boys who were riding the boat. In this way the destinies of Benny and Pearl intersect, though they won’t meet again until several years later with Benny as a freelancing Jazz musician and Pearl as one of the owners of Chimbrova’s saloon, which has been dubbed The Jazz Palace.
The reader goes on a ride, spanning fifteen years, which starts with a public tragedy on Chicago's shore, follows with the apogee of the Jazz movement, and finally the Great Depression and how it impacted the city and its people. The Jazz Palace is an ode to Chicago, to its blue collar heritage, to the glamour and decadence of the Jazz Age and Prohibition era, to the music that defined the early part of the 20th century which had its roots in New Orleans, and the famous and sometimes shady figures that inhabited the city.
Through The Jazz Palace, the reader gets a glimpse of Chicago under the reigns of mafia bosses, the most prominent of who was Al Capone, who resorted to brutal intimidation tactics, intent on controlling the entertainment establishments.
Prepare to be thoroughly entertained.