Re: RARA-AVIS: A runaway train of thought that gets ba
20 Jul 99 15:32:00 -0400

     Re Jane's recent post:
     "Just a thought apropos of a throwaway line in my last message about
     costume dramas,which started one of those 3am train of thoughts, is
     there any truly hardboiled historical fiction, by which I mean written
     contemporarily, about pre 20th century. I know HB usually pertains to
     a modern,urban -generally- situation, but if you think about it
     previous centuries were just as, if not more, violent and grim, than
     our own, which could provide numerous nasty, dark and lovely scenarios
     for the right author."
     A British writer named Frederick Nolan wrote two cop novels
     fictionalizing the career of real-life NYC police detective Giusseppe
     Petrosino, *No Place To Be a Cop* and *Kill Petrosino!*. I haven't
     read them, and can't comment on their quality, but the subject matter
     is certainly hard-boiled. Petrosino, who worked in the NYPD in the
     late 19th and early 20th century, was the first American policeman to
     see a connection between the "Black Hand" extortion groups preying on
     Italian immigrants and the Sicilian Mafia back in the old country.
     Petrosino was also the first Italian-American policeman to be killed
     in the line of duty, dying in a Sicilian alley while on a secret
     mission to establish the ties between the criminal organization he was
     sure existed. He is also the subject of a non-fiction biography,
     originally published in Italy, called *Joe Petrosino* (the name of the
     author escapes me), and a pretty dandy little flick called *Pay or
     Die* (circa 1960) starring Ernest Borgnine as Petrosino. - Jim Doherty

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