Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The P&G Ivory Cut-Whiskey Massacree by Craig Holden

“The P&G Ivory Cut-Whiskey Massacree” By Craig Holden, Murder and All That Jazz, Robert J. Randisi, ed., Signet Books, $6.99, Mass Market Paperback.

In his introduction Randisi mentions that this story was cut from a novel called the Jazz Bird and was based on actual events in 1927 Cincinnati. That’s unfortunate.

The story is about a gang war between a bunch run by a man named Remus (We never get to know his first name. Probably have to read the book.), and another gang led by Fat Wrassman over a bootlegging operation. The Wrassman gang tries to wipe out the Remus operation one night, but gets surprised and shot up pretty bad.

Remus’ lieutenant, Jew John Marcus, starts trying to find out what’s going on by torturing the guy that was supposed to be on guard when the Wrassman bunch attacked. The story is that Al Capone is trying to muscle his way into the Cincinnati bootlegging scene by tying up with Wrassman. Remus takes this as a personal insult and tells Jew John to put a stop to it. On a lucky drive through the city, Jew John sees a car full of Wrassman men and follows it to a speakeasy where they’ve been laying low.

All he’s got on him is a .32 pocket pistol, so he goes to a hardware store and buys a deer rifle. He returns to the speak and shoots the place up killing five men. When asked how he intends to get rid of the bodies, Marcus comes up with an inventive way.

Earlier I said it was unfortunate that the story was based on true events and taken from a novel. By that I meant that we get very little background and no character development. That’s always a danger when you take a story from a chapter of a novel or base a story on historical events. In this case Mr. Holden did both. Because he took the viewpoint of Jew John Marcus, a participant, the story is moderately more interesting than reading a historical account. But not much.

In short, maybe the book is better.