Boomtown San Diego, in 1888, erupts in murder by the retired Marshal and hero of the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp. What’s really going on behind this murder? Can you find who’s responsible when others can’t?
“Human trafficking earns global profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, $99 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation. Globally, an estimated 71% of enslaved people are women and girls, while men and boys account for 29%.”
These stats come from 2021 around the world.
In a very unique plot, award-winning historical mystery author, James Musgrave, turns four suspects over to the reader to choose one. Wyatt Earp, the hero of the O. K. Corral shoot-out in Tombstone, Arizona, is charged with First Degree Murder. Series attorney and detective, Clara Shortridge Foltz, takes the case to defend him, as she’s moved to the San Diego boomtown, and she needs the money. This mystery soon escalates into a deep and increasingly frightening exploration into mystical Kabbalah, Tantric sex, sado-masochism, and the rivalry of three Stingaree bordello madams, who each has a secret.
However, these practices began in the Nineteenth Century, and in boomtowns across the West women were being used to make great profits for those in the community reaping money from the exploitation of sex sold to hard-working men, who usually outnumbered the female population 5-1 during the Gold and Silver Mining Era.
This sixth mystery of the Portia of the Pacific seriesThe Dancing Murders delves into a case that, at first, seems to involve legal prostitution madams in San Diego, but it soon becomes a much wider, and more complex mystery about whom is actually benefiting the most from these businesses and why. Several major historical characters are used by Musgrave to weave into his plot, including the “boomtown vagabonds,” Wyatt Berry-Stapp Earp and his common law wife, Josephine Marcus Earp; Ida Bailey, notorious madam of the Stingaree district’s Canary Cottage; the first mayor of San Diego, William Jefferson Hunsaker, who used to be Earp’s attorney back in Tombstone, Arizona.
With an extremely unique frame, Musgrave allows the reader to first explore the suspects and the issues through five chapters of prologue. Then, in a very Kurosawa-type twist, as in Rashomon, the reader/viewer gets to explore the psyches of the four main suspects, in chronological progression. However, deep within these characters, in their first-person narratives, lies the underlying truth of this entire mystery and how it will explode into the plot for the seventh mystery in this popular series.
What is behind the murder plot, and how does attorney and detective Clara Shortridge Foltz go about investigating the leads? Are you better than she is at spotting what’s going on in this twisted assortment of clues? Try one suspect to see if you’re correct. However, even if you guessed correctly, unless you read all four narratives, you won’t see the macrocosmic and ingenious plot for what it’s worth. Only then will you see how Musgrave shines the first light on an issue that is grabbing headlines today. We may call it “persecution of Asians” in massage parlors. However, what about the sex-traffickers and ones who finance these types of businesses? History, says Musgrave, keeps repeating itself, and The Dancing Murders demonstrates, in colorful and mystifying ways, just how it all began.