Booze Books: On the House
We got a mysterious email over the weekend, one that made us sit up and take notice. As we sat and blinked at our screen, a few words jumped out at us: "Murder Trust," "poisoned oysters" and "syphilitic speakeasy owner." For a nervous moment, we thought it was a veiled threat from someone we'd offended the night before while still in the clutches of the shiny demon known as Jagermeister.
Once we cleared the mental cobwebs, we realized that the sender, identifying himself only as the "Night Editor," was telling us about a new book, called "On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy." Knowing we weren't in any immediate danger, we read on and were immediately interested. The book, written by Simon Read, chronicles shady dealings and attempted murder that took place back in the Depression.
We didn't need much coaxing...syphilis, poisoned shellfish and booze, all in the same book? Sounds like the goings-on in the Liquor Snob offices. You know we'll be getting a copy. See what the Night Editor had to say about On the House below:
It's grisly. It's gritty. It's gory. It's guzzly. It's a cult classic in the making. "On The House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy" is the true story of a Depression-era drunkard who thwarted numerous attempts on his life. All except the last one, of course.
It would be called "the most grotesque chain of events in New York criminal history." Michael Malloy was a drunk stumbling through life in a whiskey haze. His fellow barflies saw something else, though -- a chance to get rich quick.
A gang dubbed the Murder Trust took out several life insurance policies on Malloy and then set about to kill him. That was no easy task. The perpetrators -- including a crooked undertaker, a syphilitic speakeasy owner, a psychotic cabbie -- plied Malloy with bad booze, rounds of wood alcohol, poisoned oysters and tainted sardines. They tried to freeze him in the bitter Depression winter of 1933. They tried to run him down with a cab. But Malloy kept coming back for more drinks on the house.
Eventually -- miraculously -- the Murder Trust got their man. But the plot unraveled and the case turned the sadly oblivious victim into a headline-making symbol of Depression-era resilience. Meanwhile, the plotters actually sang on their way to execution at Sing Sing prison.
Michael Malloy inspired a hit song by the group "Primus." He came alive on the 1950's series "Gangbusters." Now, his story is recorded in print. "On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy" will keep readers flipping pages well into the night.
On the House is being released today in paperback. You can buy it at Amazon
for eight bucks, plus you can get your hands on Frizzle Fry, the Primus album mentioned above, here
Plus, learn more about the book at the author's web site: www.simon-read.com.
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Posted by Jake Jamieson at October 4, 2005 8:31 AM