Philip Metcalfe has described his role as an author as that of a "painter who endows a lost world with the personality and the dailiness it once possessed." In Whispering Wires, Metcalfe tells the story of Roy Olmstead, one of the principal bootleggers in Prohibition-era Seattle, and the first major federal court case concerning the use of wiretaps. He writes, "Set into motion then was a constellation of conditions that no one could have foretold. Prohibition had produced a shadow universe governed by an aberrant moral algebra." This historical narrative follows the city officials, Prohibition agents, and rumrunners who chased, evaded, and double-crossed each other during one of Seattle's most thrilling eras.