Crazy as a Loon:
"This colorful tale of Hymie Stiehl’s premature death and remarkable rebirth will linger in your mind--along with such characters as Jimmy the Mole, Sammy the Bull Gravano, funeral director Zeke Elgars ("who carries with him the smell of death like the scent from a cheap carnation"), Jungle Jim Rivera, an anonymous but devoted blonde exhibitionist, and Monique, about whom Stiehl can only fantasize--long after you put the book down."
"When Yiddish Bulldog Hymie Stiehl, one of Chicago's most notorious raconteurs around the City of Big Shoulders, learns that pal Jungle Jim Rivera of the Chicago White Sox has disappeared, he knows what he has to do. Realizing that Rivera is still alive but in great danger, Stiehl fakes his own death, only to reemerge underground—in drag—to try to locate his long-time friend.
Jimmy the Mole tracks Rivera to a small brownstone in New Town, and Hymie and D.J.--his younger, hipper college-professor sidekick--decide to pay Rivera a surprise call. But when the two walk into an empty apartment, ransacked and with a bathtub still filled with warm water, Stiehl realizes things are getting serious.
Soon bodies begin dropping around Stiehl "like flies at a bad delicatessen." When the president of Columbia College turns up dead in Stiehl's arms at D.J.'s apartment, Stiehl decides to call in the D.A. and the members of the venerable Twelfth Precinct. Instead of receiving help, he receives an ultimatum: the D.A. gives him just 24 hours to turn up Rivera or turn over Stiehl's colleague--for the ball player's murder.
With little time to lose--and an increasingly nervous partner on his hands--Stiehl sends D.J. to talk to the college president's mistress while Stiehl attempts to hide the body until things calm down. By the time he reunites with his sidekick, the girl has confessed to having an affair with Rivera while she was dating the college president. Hymie points out that she omitted one small detail from her confession--that she was also dating mobster Sammy the Bull Gravano. When Rivera vows to die for the woman he loves, Stiehl points out that that won't be necessary: "Bull already has a contract out on you." Not for fooling around with his woman, Stiehl adds, but for failing to throw the 1959 World Series--costing Gravano a cool million in bets.
This colorful tale of Hymie Stiehl’s premature death and remarkable rebirth travels all corners of the Windy City, in and out of penthouse apartments and Skid Row dives, through the halls and secret passageways of underground collegiate society, and in and out of police stations, City Hall, and even the venerable, veritable bowels of Comiskey Park.
Along the way, Stiehl matches wits with Jimmy the Mole, Sammy the Bull Gravano, funeral director Zeke Elgars ("who carries with him the smell of death like the scent from a cheap carnation"), Jungle Jim Rivera, television broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, an anonymous but devoted blonde exhibitionist, an overzealous District Attorney, a long string of quirky supporting characters, and Monique--about whom Stiehl can only fantasize. He takes them all on in his own inimitable style—and wins.
NOTE: All material is copyright protected. No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically, mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author. All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers. Copyright 2009 by The Swetky Agency
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