Harry Duffin: Chicago May

Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Chicago May. I’m sharing an extract with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the extract.


Sixteen-year-old peasant girl, May Sharpe, steals from her abusive father, and flees Ireland, to chase her dream of a new life in America. Arriving penniless and friendless in 1919’s America, May has to choose between honest poverty, or crime. Beautiful May is charmed by successful con-man, ‘Society’ Eddie. With her new lover’s guidance, teenage May soon becomes the city’s ‘Queen of Crooks’.

But Joe, a stubborn local cop, has fallen for the spirited May. He is determined to save her from herself, and having to spend her life in prison. In the midst of her glitzy life, he confronts May to make a decision; a decision which would threaten, not only her new-found fame and fortune, but her young life…


May gazed at the Statue of Liberty, and felt her excitement rising, like a fluttering bird trying to break free. She was free. She had escaped and she could hardly believe it. ‘Are we nearly there?’  

   ‘You are,’ Henry said. ‘Ellis Island is right by Old Liberty.’

   ‘What’s Ellis Island? Is it America?’

   ‘It’s the place all new folks go to get checked out.’

   ‘How d’you mean checked out?’ There was a slight catch in her lilting Irish brogue.

   ‘They need to check out your identity and stuff,’ he explained. ‘Everybody stays there ‘til they check you’re not a criminal or something.’  

   An icy gust of wind caught them. Henry sensed the young girl stiffen beside him. ‘A criminal?’ she repeated. 

   ‘Like a thief or a murderer.’ He smiled reassuringly. 

‘I don’t see you as any of those.’

   May looked at the hazy red-brick buildings, beyond the statue, on Ellis Island. The place she would be held until they checked her out, as Henry put it. To see if she was a criminal. There was definite concern in her young voice now. ‘And…if they find out you’re…well…I mean..?’ Despite the cold her cheeks were suddenly burning.

   Henry turned to look into her emerald-green eyes. ‘Are you in some kinda trouble, May Sharpe?’


Chicago May is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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