Every so often, I have to do a book signing. This involves sitting at a table at a book store for three or four hours, hoping customers will stop by to chat and maybe buy a book. To make the process more interesting for book store customers, I usually bring show-and-tell: my 2 beaded flapper dresses from 1925, my (empty) bottle of poison that my killer used to murder a couple people, antique vaudeville programs, and a 1929 doctor’s prescription for alcohol (legal booze). Talking about these helps pass the time.
I recently decided I needed something to give away, so I had some bookmarks printed and did a quick bit of research into candies that were popular in the Roaring Twenties. There are several that are still around–and still popular–today, but I chose Charleston Chews, largely because the name evokes the era–the Charleston was the signature dance of the decade. I had a local candy store order a large quantity of bite-size Charleston Chews for me and am ready to set them out at my next event!
Other candies were popular in the Twenties: Butterfingers, candy canes, and Clark Bars, for example. I mention Clark Bars in SILENT MURDERS when Carl Delaney, the cop who likes Jessie, hands her one after she’s been arrested and says they gave them to him in France during the Great War. (I can’t write World War I because it wasn’t called that until after World War II happened.) But Clark Bars don’t have the verbal tie-in to the Twenties that Charleston Chews have, so I went with those. Maybe, if the Charleston Chews are popular, I’ll buy some Clark Bars and give out both . . .
Charleston Chews were introduced in 1922, and since my books take place in 1925 and 1926, they come from the right era. I plan to mention them in my next book. They are chewy, as you might expect from the name, and made of nougat coated in chocolate.