Two real, brilliant women on two sides of the law, in a daring game of cat and mouse…
1926, Washington, D. C.
In the Prohibition Rum Wars, the Coast Guard is losing. Eleven million gallons of illegal liquor a year have created a booming smuggling economy, with criminals wreaking havoc on American cities, and everyday citizens thumbing their noses at Uncle Sam. But the Coast Guard has a new, secret weapon—one of the husband-and-wife pair who invented cryptanalysis and trained Great War soldiers—to crack smuggler codes, intercept traffic, and destroy the trade, one skiff at a time. That secret weapon is a 5'2 mastermind in heels, who also happens to be a wife and mother: Mrs. Elizebeth Smith Friedman.
When Marie Waite—wife of a rumrunner and mother of two little ones—notices discrepancies in cargo, she insists on accompanying her husband, Charlie, on a run from their home in Miami to Nassau. There, not only does Marie witness her husband's shortcomings, but she becomes enthralled by Cleo Lythgoe, "The Bahama Queen," who announces her retirement while regaling the thugs at the bar with tales of murder and mayhem on the high seas. In spite of Cleo's warnings about a "new man in the government" who seems to know where they are before they get there, Marie knows an opportunity when she sees it, and she wants the crown for herself so badly she can taste it.
So begins Marie's plan to rise as rumrunner royalty long enough to get her family in the black. What she didn't count on was that the more sophisticated her operation grows, the more she comes on the radar of the feds, nabbing criminals by the daily dozen. Once Marie knows who she's up against, she's more determined than ever to triumph.
On the other side of the law, Elizebeth is the only codebreaker battling scores of smugglers. From solving thousands of intercepted codes and ciphers, to riding along on Coast Guard patrols, to national travel, to testifying in court rooms—all while managing her household—the strain begins to wear on her. Once the work becomes personal, and she discovers Marie as a premier adversary, Elizebeth's desire to catch the woman becomes almost obsessive.
From the glamorous world of D. C. Intelligence to the sultry shores of the Straits of Florida, The Last Twelve Miles—a tale of ambition and envy—is based on the true story of two women masterminds trying to outwit each other in a dangerous and fascinating game of high stakes.