Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

It is spring 1929, and Prohibition is in full swing. So when Ruben and Jeddy find a dead body washed up on the shore of their small coastal Rhode Island town, they are sure it has something to do with smuggling liquor. 

Soon the boys, along with Jeddy's strong-willed sister, Marina, are drawn in, suspected by rival bootlegging gangs of taking something crucial off the dead man. Then Ruben meets the daring captain of the Black Duck, the most elusive smuggling craft of them all, and it isn't long before he's caught in a war between two of the most dangerous prohibition gangs.


I've always been fascinated by the 1920's. Books and movies have turned it into a golden age, full of light, music, dancing, and danger. I'm sure the reality of it all is quite different from how it's portrayed, but there is something so interesting about this Icarus-like decade. 

The story is based on historical events surrounding the rumrunner craft named the Black Duck, and the booze smuggling rings that developed as a result of the US Government's ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol. It got off to a bit of a slow start, but eventually pick up. It has all the things you would expect from a story about illegal liquor - gangs, guns, shady business deals, even a dead body. We usually see stories like this through the eyes of gangsters, and I liked being able to see it from a kid's perspective and how these big city rings impacted small town America. Overall, I enjoyed the book.    

No comments:

Post a Comment