I could have managed without the short and superficial chapters about other crime organizations and Mafia films (I'm sure there's not much new informaI could have managed without the short and superficial chapters about other crime organizations and Mafia films (I'm sure there's not much new information in the latter, if you've seen even just a few gangster films), but the part about Mafia's women was much too short (especially because in Calabria women are still murdered today if they remarry, or do something else that the organization feels breaks the patriarchal order of the society).
Gasparini succeeds in peeling the glossy surface from the Mafia, but he could have taken a firmer stance on the issue of films and other media glamorizing its position in the society. It's worrying that some (or all?) who belong to these organizations feel like they're not murdering anyone per se, but instead handing out justified punishments that in their world are alright and needed to sustain the hierarchy. I wonder if the Mafia is much too rooted to get rid of it completely. Only time will tell.
An ok introduction overall, despite some problems construction-wise and with repetitiveness. For those in need of an in-depth history I would suggest turning elsewhere. There's also a slight mistake in the film section: films about organized crime did exist before the 1930s (Underworld , The Racket  etc.), but the exploits of real life criminals gradually made them more popular, making the 1930s the Golden era of gangster films....more
Wolfe writes engagingly and he has truly made his research. He doesn't reveal his theory about the murderer(s) until in the very end, forcing the readWolfe writes engagingly and he has truly made his research. He doesn't reveal his theory about the murderer(s) until in the very end, forcing the reader to think about the case and connect the clues. For that reason I'll try not to give away too much in the following.
I actually believe that the solution Wolfe provides is how things really happened. It all makes sense, pieces fit in the gaps. Even if it's not true, files that became public only recently give away pretty big clues, things that dirty cops and corrupt big shots had so adamantly wanted to hide. Mafia involvement was the biggest factor. I was pretty shocked to find out that Cary Grant and Gary Cooper among others were Bugsy Siegel's friends, at least until Hollywood realized he was a raving gangster.
Marilyn Monroe also talked to Elizabeth Short at one point, when she was asking about how to get into the right Hollywood crowd, and later Monroe was very disturbed by her murder. There was so much anecdotes and information about the case, varying from plausible (an interview with the possible murderer) to downright ridiculous (lesbian killer hoax). The cover-up probably lasted well until the 1980s when someone talked a bit too much (hint: a very movie-like scenario involving an apartment fire). Whatever the truth is, it's likely that the murderer(s) will never be punished for what they did....more
The second half was boring because of the court case. I was somewhat disappointed since it is a true crime book but the eccentric characters who actuaThe second half was boring because of the court case. I was somewhat disappointed since it is a true crime book but the eccentric characters who actually exist made up for it....more