Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away with Murder by Patrick Brode

Publication Date: November 20, 2018

On November 6, 1920, in the midst of Ontario’s prohibition, Provincial liquor inspector, Reverend  J.O.L “Leslie” Spracklin walked into the Chappell House Hotel in Windsor, Ontario and shot Beverly “Babe” Trumble at close range, killing him. What happened that day and how did Spracklin get away with murder?

 

 

Given the part that Ontario played in the US prohibition, which started in 1920, one would not assume that Ontario was dry at that time. The Ontario Temperance Act was passed in 1916 and while liquor could be produced and exported, it was not legal to consume. Brode begins Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away with Murder outlining Ontario’s history with alcohol and its citizens lack of reverence for the newly established rules after prohibition passed. Windsor, which is across a river just south of Detroit, Michigan,  was a special concern for the officials in Toronto as liquor seemed to flow freely back and forth across the water. There were speakeasys everywhere and hotels and social clubs would serve both locally produced and homemade products.  There are stately homes now in the lovely Walkervile area of Windsor, built by people that got rich off of the illegal flow of alcohol.

The Ontario Attorney General of the day, William Rainey, opted to bypass the local police and engage private enforcement for the liquor laws. He appointed Spracklin, the Pastor of Sandwich Methodist Church, a liquor inspector and Spracklin brought on board his own force including a very dubious Hallam brothers. From the start, there was a massive overreaching on the part of the team and allegations that when “inspections” would happen, things would go missing. The team didn’t shy away from violence and didn’t seem to care about the optics of their raids or the positions of the subjects. Rather than seeming the law of the Wild West of Ontario, they were coming off as bullies. What caused Spracklin and his men to raid the Chappell House on that November night is unknown but stories of what happened varied wildly and seem to have been the last straw for those that employed Spracklin. It may seem a spoiler in the title to say that Spracklin got away with murder but, as in any true crime, the journey is key.

At 216 pages, a quarter of which is bibliography, Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away with Murder is a quick read. Brode, a local historian, covers Prohibition and how it was passed before going into the lives of the participants and the difference in the ways they were raised and how they looked at life. Their mothers came from the same area of Ontario to Windsor and were friends. The retelling of the event itself it brief with more detail going into the subsequent trial. It was interesting, as someone who has lived in Essex County, for 21 years, to read the names that remain familiar in the city of Windsor. Trumble’s body was handled by Janisse Funeral Home which is still in operation 100 years later. Spracklin’s men stopped people leaving Our Lady of Assumption Church, a church that was a risk for a few years but is now being restored, to search vehicles for alcohol. The trial took place at Mackenzie Hall; now an event space and where Mr. Rabid Readers and I had our wedding reception. There is a historic courtroom preserved with original furnishings in the building that is now used for Landlord-Tenant Court and as an interpretive display piece.

If you are interested in the subject, Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away with Murder is a great read. The start is a bit dry so one must bear with the work but once the author gets into the local events and his subjects; Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away with Murder is utterly fascinating and a very quick read.

 

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The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What’s My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen by Mark Shaw

Publication Date: December 6, 2016

 

On November 8, 1965, 52-year-old investigative reporter and television personality, Dorothy Kilgallen, is found dead of an apparent overdose in her New York City home. Her files are missing and the air conditioning is running. She has been investigating the Kennedy assassination and has told people she is poised to crack it wide open. Was she the reporter who knew too much?

 

Before he started investigating the Jack Ruby trial, Mark Shaw remembered Dorothy Kilgallen as a panelist on the syndicated CBS game show, “What’s my Line.” Digging into the records, Kilgallen’s name kept coming up and her interest and dedication to cracking the case sparked Shaw’s interest in the enigmatic and talented reporter and her mysterious death. Research for The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What’s My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen took Shaw 12 years and justice for Kilgallen has become his calling. Continue reading The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What’s My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen by Mark Shaw

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis

Publication Date: November 25, 2014

 

In The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis, Janie KThe Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtisnox is living a happy life with her partner in Savannah when she discovers that she only has a few months left to live. Time is short and Janie must face the past by returning to Atlanta to tie up the loose ends of the past. Will she reconnect with the sister she abandoned and will she be able to face off with her mother’s killer and do what must be done before time runs out?

 

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Like Shards of Glass by R.H. Ramsey

Publication Date: August 21, 2014

 

RR_Like_Shards_GlassIn a shooting rampage, Monroe Song’s husband took several innocent lives including the lives of three of her sons. In the wake of the devastation, she is less living life than managing to stay alive. Involving herself with a 24-year-old is perhaps not her best option, especially when her surviving son needs her so desperately. [easyazon_link identifier=”B00MUWOL7Y” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]Like Shards of Glass[/easyazon_link] is a tale of love, loss, betrayal and murder.

 

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Innocence Lost by J.D. Selmser

Publication Date: November 5, 2013

 

Innocence Lost by J.D. SelmserIn Innocence Lost by J.D. Selmser, Milan and Natinha are living a charmed romance when Milan’s life is stolen by Zahir. In an eternal battle of love transcending death Milan refuses to give up so easily. Will anyone live happily ever after?

 

 

 

 

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Murder of an Oil Heiress by Candy Ann Little

Publication Date: November 11, 2013

 

In Murder of an Oil Heiress by Candy Ann Little, Mallory Dillingham has been raised to be an oil baroness. She has been spoiled her entire life, and there are no lines she won’t cross to get what she wants and to get it now. She lies, cheats, blackmails and works at destroying marriages. Collateral damage is nothing to Mallory. Human weakness is a gift. Will she get want she wants or will she only succeed in setting her family on fire?

 

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A Door Unlocked by Calvin Dean

Publication Date: September 27, 2013

 

A Door Unlocked by Calvin DeanIn A Door Unlocked by Calvin Dean, Bobby Ray, a brutal recently released ex-con in need of ready cash, thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds an unlocked door in the upscale Memphis suburb of Olive Branch, Mississippi. After killing her father and seriously injuring her mother, Bobby Ray takes 8-year-old Lydia Fitzgerald on the run. When Lydia’s mother comes out of her medically induced coma three days later, she has a tale to tell of help from her husband on the other side. Can a renowned doctor of parapsychology help Vanessa Fitzgerald save her daughter in time?

 

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Ripple: A Tale of Hope and Redemption by E.L. Farris

Publication Date: January 17, 2013

 

Ripple: A Tale of Hope and Redemption by E.L. FarrisIn Ripple: A Tale of Hope and Redemption by E.L. Farris, Helen Thompson is a powerful and driven lawyer who has drifted from her family when she discovers that her 15-year-old daughter has been sexually abused and exploited by her husband. Her husband is a highly respected judge, but he’s also been taking part in a child porn and exploitation ring. Helen knew that he wasn’t faithful but had no idea the depth and extent to which his depravity reached. She takes the ultimate risk and is forced to go into hiding with her daughter. Helen knows that the system is flawed and has a hard time trusting but knows she must do what she can to save her daughter.

 

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