Rumrunning, Codebreaking, and The Last Twelve Miles

with Erika Robuck and Ellen McCarthy

Elizebeth Smith Friedman is renowned for her codebreaking during World War I and II, but between the wars she took on rumrunners during prohibition. In her new novel Erika Robuck is inspired by Friedman and real-life rumrunning royalty “Spanish Marie” to tell an atmospheric tale of two women locked in a deadly cat-and-mouse game on opposite sides of the Prohibition Rum Wars. 

Ellen McCarthy, who has formerly been Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Chief Operating Officer of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and Director of Intelligence Operations, Strategy, and Policy for the United States Coast Guard, will interview Robuck about her new book The Last Twelve Miles. Robuck is the national bestselling author of biographical fiction including The Invisible Woman and Sisters of Night and Fog based on the true stories of World War II spies. Now she turns her focus to the Roaring Twenties. In their conversation, McCarthy and Robuck will discuss how the true story of Friedman’s codebreaking for the Coast Guard inspired the author’s tale of adversaries struggling for the advantage in the last twelve miles between foreign nations and the US. Marie Waite, a ruthless rumrunner who imported gallons of illegal alcohol into the US humiliating the Coast Guard each time she evaded the Miami Coast Guard patrols, was a formidable match for the brilliant cryptanalyst. Join us to learn more about two real women and how they are brought back to life in a dazzling new novel.

The author’s books will be available for sale and signing after the conversation. Will you get a shot glass with your purchase? Perhaps!


  Assistive listening devices will be available for the in-person program. 

  Auto-generated closed captioning will be available for this program when viewed online.