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Death for Mr. Big, by Robert Terrall (1951)



Just as their wedding night is beginning Ruth and her husband are interrupted by someone claiming to be hotel security. The guy convinces the husband, Mario, to accompany him to his office and it's the last time Ruth sees him until she has to identify the body at the morgue.

Mario's death was ordered by the local crime lord, Vincent Greco. Everyone knows it, but they can't do anything about it because Greco basically owns the town. He controls the press and the police and when he snaps his fingers, the mayor goes, "How can I help you?"

Ruth starts to work her revenge in the only way she knows how - ingratiating herself with the big man himself, becoming his live-in mistress. She starts drinking heavily because it's the only way she can stand his touch. She gets a crash course in buying drugs in seedy nightclubs, because its the only way she can bribe a heroin junkie into making an attempt on Greco's life. In short, she debases herself so much that towards the end of the book she's like, "To hell with Mario and my revenge! Ah, sweet sweet whiskey! Glug! Glug! Glug!" Yes, she actually says "Glug!"*

An okay book written by Terrall under one of his kajillion pseudonyms, but one that dragged a bit near the end.

*No.

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