Dying for a Drink (Paperback)
How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away with Murder
Biblioasis, 9781771962681, 216pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Known to history as "The Fighting Parson," Reverend J.O.L. Spracklin broke into a notorious Windsor roadhouse one chilly November night in 1920 and shot and killed barkeep Beverly "Babe" Trumble. Easily acquitted by reason of self-defense, he never served a day of time. A provincial liquor license inspector already known for his brash tactics, Spracklin's audacious tactics solidified across North America the Detroit-Windsor borderlands' reputation as the new Wild West--an uncivilized outpost where whisky flowed freely, warrants were forged on the spot, and ministers toted guns to keep the peace.
To the rest of Ontario, a dry province, Spracklin was the saviour they'd been waiting for, the answer to the lawlessness of the Border Cities--that is, until he shot a man at point blank range. In this exploration of the period, decorated Ontario historian Patrick Brode unpacks this infamous piece of Prohibition lore and asks: Why did Babe Trumble die? What led to a hotheaded reverend taking the law into his own hands, killing a man, and getting away with it? Full of fire-and-brimstone preachers, crooked politicians, wily rum runners, grandstanding lawyers, and innocents caught in the crossfire, Dying for a Drink is a fascinating read that will captivate anyone interested in the real stories behind this fabled time.