This book relates the 1936 trial of Lucky Luciano, through the experience of the witnesses. The most notorious of these were the women who worked as New York syndicate madams and prostitutes in 1933-1936. The book asserts the opinion that the conviction was appropriate, based on the fact that at least two of the co-defendants were highly placed in Luciano's drug and liquor trades.
Published in American Library Association Booklist,
April 15, 2007, p. 10(1)
by Mike Tribby
The author of Don't Call Us Molls (2002), about the women of the Dillinger gang, takes a hard look at Charles "Lucky" Luciano's 1936 trial for running a prostitution racket. The feds wanted to put "Charlie Luck" away for something -- anything -- and the convoluted investigation and prosecution strategies they followed in pursuit of that goal provide the glue for the story Poulsen tells and her conclusions about how the women involved were treated like pawns by both sides in the case. Poulsen adopts those women's perspecive, and a richer, more Runyonesque point-of-view is hard to imagine. Drawing on the womens' letters and photos from the period, many published here for the first time, Poulsen offers hoot after hoot while profiling the likes of Gay Orlova (Luciano's girlfriend), madame supreme Polly Adler, and riotous, redoubtable Cokey Flo, who was not exactly prosecutor Thomas Dewey's ideal witness. The Luciano case has been much commented on, but Poulsen's riveting account must be reckoned an essential popular addition to the annals of the American Mafia.
- Mike Tribby
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