DESERT ICE-- In search of 1955 Las Vegas
When people found out we were taking a week long research trip to Las Vegas for our next book, Desert Ice, everyone insisted we visit the Mob Museum. So, we decided to take them up on the suggestion and made it our first stop.
Even before we went to our hotel, we interviewed the curator. She was very helpful and answered some of our questions regarding of the inner workings of the 1955 mob era.
The next day, after breakfast we toured the museum, housed in the old Post Office in the old part of town, 1940-50's music is played as you ascend the broad steps. With four floors of mob history and memorabilia, they suggest you plan two hours. We found it extremely enlightening with displays showing the very beginnings of the mob in the US and how the organization grew and spread.
Great technology, presentation and staff on each floor very knowledgeable about the history of the mob, particularly in the Las Vegas area.
We were very surprised to learn how normal the families of the mobs were during their heyday in the fifties. I had the opportunity to interview a the daughter of a mobster who lived in the area in 1955. In her younger years, she rode her bike to school, swam in the community pool and shopped at Sears, of all places.
As a kid who grew up in New York in the 50's, our lives were very similar, except, of course for her access to big name stars such as Pearl Bailey, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, etc. Quite often they were dinner guests in her home!
Since Las Vegas was an "Open City" there was no one gang or family calling the shots. Mobsters who were operating illegal businesses like gambling and prostitution in other states found a haven in Nevada and became “legitimate businessmen.” These were very savvy businessmen who know how to take the opportunity and make it work and grow for them. It was interesting to find people on both side of the law and their role in history.
There is nothing left of 1955 Vegas, so our research week in Las Vegas was full of interviews and research at libraries. We did squeeze a dinner at the Luxor though. We "just had" to schedule it.
Published authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the SKYLAR DRAKE MURDER MYSTERY Series. Their next novel Desert Ice to be released January 2017. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published ten mystery novels and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.
Janet Elizabeth Lynn http://www.janetlynnauthor.com/
Will Zeilinger http://www.willzeilingerauthor.com/