Welcome to FAB Lovelies!

A Lifestyle blog that focuses on all things from fashion to beauty; fitness to weight loss; recipes to coupons; books to movies; travels to entertainment; and everything in between.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Velvalee Dickinson: The Doll Woman Spy by Barbara Casey - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Hello lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Barbara Casey and her new book, “Velvalee Dickinson: The Doll Woman Spy”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Barbara and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!


Velvalee Dickinson: The Doll Woman Spy
by Barbara Casey

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Nonfiction/Biography/True Crime

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Velvalee Dickinson was born in Sacramento, California, graduated from Stanford University, married three times, and then in the early 1930s moved to New York City where she eventually opened her own exclusive doll shop on the prestigious Madison Avenue. It was there that she built her reputation as an expert in rare, antique, and foreign dolls. She traveled extensively around the country lecturing and exhibiting her dolls while building a wealthy clientele that included Hollywood stars, members of high society, and other collectors.

When medical bills started to accumulate because of her husband’s poor health and business started to fail with the onset of World War II, she accepted the role as a spy for the Imperial Japanese Government. By hiding coded messages in her correspondence about dolls, she was able to pass on to her Japanese contacts critical military information about the US warships. After surveilling Velvalee for over a year, the FBI arrested her and charged her with espionage and violation of censorship laws. She became the first American woman to face the death penalty on charges of spying for a wartime enemy.

Velvalee Dickinson: The “Doll Woman” Spy is a carefully researched glimpse into the “Doll Woman’s” life as a collector of dolls, and as the highest paid American woman who spied for the Imperial Japanese Government during World War II.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT TWO:

As the country absorbed the shock of the bombing at Pearl Harbor and tried to adjust to the new and difficult reality of rationing and travel restrictions while tearfully watching their loved ones depart for war zones in places unknown, the “Doll Woman,” Velvalee Dickinson, continued sending out her chatty, gossipy correspondence to her clientele and other doll enthusiasts.

One letter about dolls, however, posted from New York and sent to Señora Ines de Molinali in Argentina, was intercepted by wartime censors because of its unusual and somewhat confusing contents, as well as incorrect postage. The letter, dated January 27, 1942, was brought to the Bureau’s attention in February 1942. Purportedly written by Maud Bowman of Portland, Oregon, the letter mentioned a “wonderful doll hospital” where the writer had left her three “Old English dolls” for repairs. Also mentioned in the letter were “fishing nets” and “balloons.”

If dolls were somehow being used to assist the enemy, it wouldn’t be the first time. During the American Civil War, contraband, medical supplies, and messages were smuggled across the Northern lines inside the hollow interiors of dolls carried in the protective arms of little girls. More recently, smugglers from the United States concealed amphetamines inside small, soft “Minion” dolls and shipped them to Israel.

FBI cryptographers, and in particular C.A. Appel, examined the letter and eventually concluded that it was likely the “dolls” in question were possibly three warships and the “doll hospital” was a West Coast-based shipyard where repairs were made. They also speculated that the “fishing nets” referred to an aircraft carrier with antitorpedo netting on its sides, the “wooden doll” was an older battleship, and the “little boy” was a destroyer. “Balloons” mentioned in the letter probably disclosed information about coastal defenses and other critical information on the West Coast.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GUEST POST:

It is so nice to be a guest on your site. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my latest nonfiction book, Velvalee Dickinson: The “Doll Woman” Spy.

Velvalee opened her own exclusive doll shop on the prestigious Madison Avenue in the 1930s, just prior to WW II. It was there that she built her reputation as an expert in rare, antique, and foreign dolls. She traveled extensively around the country lecturing and exhibiting her dolls while building a wealthy clientele that included Hollywood stars, members of high society, politicians, and other collectors. When medical bills started to accumulate because of her husband’s poor health and business started to fail with the onset of World War II, she accepted the role as a spy for the Imperial Japanese Government. By hiding coded messages in her correspondence about dolls, she was able to pass on to her Japanese contacts critical military information about the US warships. After surveilling Velvalee for over a year, the FBI arrested her and charged her with espionage and violation of censorship laws. She became the first American woman to face the death penalty on charges of spying for a wartime enemy. Velvalee Dickinson: The “Doll Woman” Spy is a carefully researched glimpse into the “Doll Woman’s” life as a collector of dolls, and as the highest paid American woman who spied for the Imperial Japanese Government during World War II.

Velvalee wasn’t very tall—less than 5 feet—and she weighed less than 100 pounds. My favorite scene in the book is when the FBI attempted to arrest her as she was taking money out of her bank safety deposit box:

Small-boned, petite—no more than 5 feet tall, if that, and weighing less than 100 pounds, Velvalee Malvena Dickinson hurried into the Midtown Manhattan bank. She feared that the FBI was watching her, and her immediate mission was to remove the contents of her safety deposit box in case she needed to make a quick escape.

She was too late, however.

In fact, the FBI had been surveilling Velvalee for well over a year. They now had enough evidence for an arrest on the suspicion of violating wartime censorship codes, at the very least, and possibly espionage, which, if convicted, carried the death penalty.

As soon as she opened the metal box, FBI agents who had followed her into the dimly-lit vault announced that she was under arrest. When she flung the box at the agents, they immediately confiscated its contents which included $15,940, two-thirds of it in Federal Reserve Notes that were later traced through their serial numbers to the Japanese Consulate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO:


Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her nonfiction true crime book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. Her nonfiction book, Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave, is under contract for a major film. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband, and three pets who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONNECT WITH BARBARA:

Website:

Blog:

Email:
barcafer@aol.com

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Amazon Author Page:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BOOK BUY LINKS:

Amazon Paperback:

Barnes and Noble Paperback:

The Book Depository Paperback:

BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFO:

Barbara will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.

17 comments:

  1. Barbara ~ Good morning! Welcome back! It is so great to have you here again! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ally, thank you so much. I have been looking forward to spending time with you and your bloggers again. And thank you for your interest in my latest book, VELVALEE DICKINSONl The Doll Woman Spy. She was quite the character with so many secrets.

      Delete
  2. Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  3. James, thank you for following my tour.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Do you think that there will be a sequel to the book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There won't be a sequel to this book - it is complete as it is. However, I am starting my research on another nonfiction book. Thanks for the question.

      Delete
  6. I have never heard of Velvalee Dickinson but the synopsis and excerpt are intriguing. I am looking forward to reading about her.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bea, I also wanted to mention, even though Velvalee did a horrible thing in spying for the Japanese against our government, I found that there was something about her where I could almost sympathize with her. You might find that you feel the same way if you get a chance to read my book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found that once I know their story, I'm often able to empathize with many of history's villains. On the same note, I have also discovered that many of our nation's historical heroes weren't the pillars of virtue that we'd all been taught that they were in grade school. It is essential to remain objective while examining the actual facts of the case, then you can form your own opinion about the circumstances and individuals involved.

      Delete
  8. Bea, when I received a publishing contract to write about Assata Shakur, I really struggled with it. I had nothing at all in common with Assata, and it was nearly impossible for me to relate to her. Then in my research I came across some information about her when she was a little girl visiting her grandparents at the beach. I was familiar with that beach because I had taken my two daughters there. That gave me the connection I needed to be able to write about her life as objectively as I could, yet understanding her on some level and her reasons for doing the things she did. Thank you again for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. Thank you Bridgett. It is interesting. The cover designer was able to incorporate the images of three dolls that had actually been in Velvalee's collection. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete