It’s 1942. Cynical about her missing-in-action former lover's patriotism, gossip columnist Jane Benjamin aims for a national byline, volunteering to find a picture-perfect Wendy-the-Welder poster girl; but when two top choices die, Jane must choose between personal ambition and service before the murderer kills another girl—and America’s best chance of winning the war.
Cynical young gossip columnist Jane Benjamin joins FDR’s Office of War Information, a propaganda unit, to find a Wendy-the-Welder poster girl to urge more women to the shipyard work essential to America’s winning World War II—and, incidentally, to make herself into the new Hedda Hopper. But somebody doesn’t want those women at work.
During a five-day contest to beat the world speed record for building a liberty ship, Jane investigates the lives of the first women welders and learns more about her flyboy former lover’s secret post–Pearl Harbor mission—and her cynicism begins to melt. But when inspectors find and publicize a series of flaws in the contest-week welding, the women welders are blamed. Worse, two poster girl candidates are killed.
Are they being sabotaged by a belligerent male shipyard supervisor? The industrialist shipyard owner with a history of controlling women? Or someone else trying to diminish the success of the US liberty ship program? To find out, Jane must choose between her professional ambition and service to the women welders—before the murderer harms another girl and America’s best chance of winning the war.
Shelley grew up in California’s Central Valley, the daughter of Dust Bowl immigrants who made good on their ambition to get out of the field. Recently retired from teaching writing at Sacramento State University, she serves as President of the Board of 916 Ink, an arts- based creative writing nonprofit for children, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. She also interviews mystery and thriller authors for the Mystery Review Crew. Shelley is the author of the critically acclaimed Jane Benjamin Mystery series, which includes Copy Boy, Tomboy, and Poster Girl. Her writing has been a finalist in the Sarton Book Awards, IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award, the American Fiction Awards, and the National Indie Excellence Awards. She and her husband live in Sacramento, surrounded by photos of their out-of-town sons, their wonderful partners, very first grandchild, and a lifetime of beloved dogs.
Linda Joy Myers is the author of two memoirs, Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains, and four books on memoir writing. She’s also the founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers. The Forger of Marseille is her first novel. She lives in Berkeley, CA.
Shelley Blanton-Stroud photo courtesy of the author. Linda Joy Myers photo courtesy of Reenie Raschke.