Newsie Stanley is just making do in 1934 St. Louis, Missouri, when he meets wealthy socialite Hazel at the movies and they become embroiled in a shocking murder that apparently connects their disparate worlds.
The enemy is known as Legion, and he is mightier than these two can handle—but don’t underestimate their grit, nor the growing attraction between the two that simply is not acceptable in their own rigid communities. To Hazel’s family, Stanley’s Irish Catholic background is as much anathema as is his poverty. Most characters are strictly stereotypes, including the main white duo whose chatter in the supposed slang of the day is neither fresh nor entertaining. Legion and his organization are far more intriguing. While Stanley is working several jobs, he never seems to actually do much work and always has a few spare coins to share, illustrating his heart of gold. Hazel, who begins as a spoiled rich debutante, is gradually awakened to the advantages her life of luxury has given her as she sees the sufferings of Depression-era life. It’s all been done before and with more élan. There might be some connections to actual history related to the Veiled Prophet Ball, but the fictionalized account provides only speculation that the organization is similar to the Ku Klux Klan.
Stock adventure out of 1930s central casting. (Historical fiction. 13-17)