BUGSY'S BABY by Andy Edmonds

BUGSY'S BABY

The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Edmonds, having unlocked the closets of Fatty Arbuckle (Frame- Up!, 1990) and Thelma Todd (Hot Toddy, 1989), continues as the Kitty Kelley of dead Hollywood celebs in this superbly researched, highly sensationalized bio of Virginia Hill. As usual, Edmonds pumps up her prose to near-bursting: Hill was ``cunningly ruthless, icy, sexy, fascinating, and tragic''--in fact, ``one of the most calculating, treacherous, and manipulating women ever born.'' But behind the clichÇs lies a compelling tale of an abused, dirt-poor girl from Alabama who slept her way (before she turned 20) into the underworld's inner sanctum and became a landmark--if never really a key player--in many important mafia moves. As Edmonds has it, sex and greed drove Hill's engines. Despite a ``gratingly shrill and squeaky voice,'' she managed to seduce just about every big-time gangster in America--above all, the ``insane'' Bugsy Siegel--and she befriended such Hollywood luminaries as Ed Sullivan and George Raft (whom she slept with under Bugsy's nose). Hill reveled in the high life and rarely missed an opportunity to increase her fame or fortune. But her grasping nature led to her downfall: By the late 1940's, she had become a ``sloppy, loud-mouthed, ill-tempered, drunken paranoid.'' Eventually, she fled the US with IRS officials on her heels; in Europe, she tried to blackmail top mobster Joey Adonis. Edmonds, who has numerous confidential informants within the mob, reports that Hill--despite rumors of suicide--probably was executed on Adonis's orders. Similar revelations pepper the book: Edmonds reveals ``for the very first time'' the details of Hill's rise through mafia ranks as a money launderer, as well as new details of Bugsy's assassination. Tabloidism on a giant scale: hot revelations, breathless prose, and a sleazy story that slows only near the end, as a burnt-out Hill drags herself across Europe. (Sixteen pages of photographs--not seen.) (Film rights to Lorimar)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55972-164-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993