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Reveals the real Virginia Hill, mob mistress and crafty gangster, examining the extent of her mob connections, her role in "Bugsy" Siegel's murder, her part in the Mob's expansion westward, and the mystery surrounding her death.
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Edmonds, having unlocked the closets of Fatty Arbuckle (Frame- Up!, 1990) and Thelma Todd (Hot Toddy, 1989), continues as the Kitty Kelley of dead Hollywood celebs in this superbly researched, highly sensationalized bio of Virginia Hill. As usual, Edmonds pumps up her prose to near-bursting: Hill was ``cunningly ruthless, icy, sexy, fascinating, and tragic''--in fact, ``one of the most calculating, treacherous, and manipulating women ever born.'' But behind the clich‚s lies a compelling tale of an abused, dirt-poor girl from Alabama who slept her way (before she turned 20) into the underworld's inner sanctum and became a landmark--if never really a key player--in many important mafia moves. As Edmonds has it, sex and greed drove Hill's engines. Despite a ``gratingly shrill and squeaky voice,'' she managed to seduce just about every big-time gangster in America--above all, the ``insane'' Bugsy Siegel--and she befriended such Hollywood luminaries as Ed Sullivan and George Raft (whom she slept with under Bugsy's nose). Hill reveled in the high life and rarely missed an opportunity to increase her fame or fortune. But her grasping nature led to her downfall: By the late 1940's, she had become a ``sloppy, loud-mouthed, ill-tempered, drunken paranoid.'' Eventually, she fled the US with IRS officials on her heels; in Europe, she tried to blackmail top mobster Joey Adonis. Edmonds, who has numerous confidential informants within the mob, reports that Hill--despite rumors of suicide--probably was executed on Adonis's orders. Similar revelations pepper the book: Edmonds reveals ``for the very first time'' the details of Hill's rise through mafia ranks as a money launderer, as well as new details of Bugsy's assassination. Tabloidism on a giant scale: hot revelations, breathless prose, and a sleazy story that slows only near the end, as a burnt-out Hill drags herself across Europe. (Sixteen pages of photographs--not seen.) (Film rights to Lorimar) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Edmonds ( Hot Toddy ) here focuses on one of the more notorious women of mid-century America, who was brought to prominence by the Kefauver Senate crime hearings of 1951-1952. Born into grinding poverty in Alabama, Hill discovered as a teenager that sex brought money. At the age of 17, when she went to Chicago to work at the 1933 World's Fair, she was picked up by the Mafia. The gangsters quickly discovered that she knew how to keep her mouth shut and that she did not skim cash from the large sums she couriered for them. As both the Chicago and New York mobs began to eye California and Nevada for expansion, Hill became a spy of sorts for the Chicago branch, moving to New York City and taking up with Joe Adonis and Bugsy Siegel. Siegel cheated the mob in building the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and was killed in 1947, while Hill was conveniently in Europe. But then her usefulness to the mobs diminished, and she was found dead in Austria in 1966. Edmonds contends that she was murdered because of a diary she threatened to make public. While there are new revelations in the book, much of the material is already known. Nevertheless, the story of the cunning, devious, ruthless Hill should draw a wide readership. Photos not seen by Publishers Weekly. TV rights to Lorimar.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Birch Lane Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX1559721642
Book Description Birch Lane Pr, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB011MF35X0
Book Description Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # A1722