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Gangsters at the Grand Atlantic is the twentieth book in the History Mysteries series.


  • Emily Scott
  • Dorothy Scott
  • Mother
  • Father
  • Mr. Florio
  • Bitsy Brewster
  • Mr. M/Michael
  • Richards
  • Milton
  • Chadwich Wellingsford
  • Frank Preston
  • Clarice
  • Gwen Chapman
  • Stuart Chapman
  • Mrs. Brewster
  • George Chapman
  • Charlie
  • Nathan
  • Mrs. Chapmna
  • Agent Murphy

Chapter-by-Chapter Summary[]

Chapter One: The Invitation[]

Emily is looking around in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, when she finds she is lost. A carpenter discovers her wandering around in the unfinished wing, and guides her back to the gallery. Dorothy, her older sister, is there waiting for her impatiently. The two girls hurry home, with Dorothy berating Emily the whole way. When the girls reach the trolley that will take them home, Emily remembers that she left the money by the bathroom sink in the museum. Emily laments on her life as they make the long walk home. She regrets having to move from their pleasant country farm to an apartment in the city. She misses calling Dorothy "Dot", and wonders why Dorothy is so bossy and grown-up. Emily remembers her father, who died serving in World War I. The two girls take a shortcut, and Emily sees a sign nailed on a door that says "Close by Order of Federal Agents." When asked, Dorothy says it is a speakeasy, which is a place where alcohol is sold illegally. The explanation is interrupted by a group of young men in a motor car. They call out to Dorothy, but Dorothy ignores them, and starts walking briskly, dragging Emily along. The men start trailing them, and the two girls run, making it to the other side of the street. The traffic flow prevents the car from following them, and Dorothy worries that the men were gangsters. Emily wonders where the men got the money for such fashionable clothes and an expensive car. Dorothy theorizes that this must be from bootlegging liquor. "Prohibition made liquor illegal, but lots of places still sell it - like that speakeasy we saw. And speakeasies buy their liquor from men like that." Emily is relieved when they reach the house. Mr. Florio, who owns the grocery store, rents the rooms above to the Scott family. The two girls greet Mr. Florio, who says that her mother is looking for them, worrying because they are later. Dorothy is worried, but Mr. Florio tells her she got a telegram, and that Mother has it upstairs. The telegram is from Dorothy's friend, Bitsy Brewster, inviting them to the New Jersey shore for a week at the Grand Atlantic Hotel. Mother says no, since no one can watch Emily, but Dorothy reluctantly allows Emily to come. Emily is hurt that Dorothy doesn't want her around anymore. Emily is sent downstairs to buy some milk from Mr. Florio for dinner. She pauses in the stairwell, hearing voices. Waiting near the door, she hears two men telling Mr. Florio to pay up. When he refuses, he is hit. Emily rushes out and screams.

Chapter Two: Watch Out![]

Mother calls Emily to come down, and the gangsters learn her name and where she lives. They say that there shouldn't be any witnesses, and Emily is terrified. However, the two leave after warning her not to say anything. Mr. Florio insists that no police should be told, and that he doesn't need a doctor, though he is bleeding. Peering to see if they are gone, Emily spots them right across the street, getting into a car. The man in the car looks her way, and Emily drops the curtains after he spotted her. Mr. Florio grabs a rusty gun, and Mother calls again. Emily asks what the men were doing.

Chapter Three: Smugglers of Rum Row[]

Chapter Four: A Surprise Encounter[]

Chapter Five: Danger at the Dance[]

Chapter Six: A Cry for Help[]

Chapter Seven: Hiding[]

Chapter Eight: Room 217[]

Chapter Nine: An Unlocked Door[]

Chapter Ten: In Dangerous Waters[]

Chapter Eleven: An Upside-Down Clue[]

Chapter Twelve: Waiting in the Dark[]

Chapter Thirteen: A Trap[]

Chapter Fourteen: A Stranger's Face[]

Chapter Fifteen: Caught![]

A Peek Into the Past[]