This ballad of a cruddy cafe takes place in some anonymous town called Alston and spreads out from the above habitat, actually a saloon, and its pool parlor and dime store to the track and-on even as far as the tables of Las Vegas. Clune, who more than ten years ago annal-ized a political boss Big Fella, now records the even more unedifying life cycle of a big broad, one Opal Pruce, always ""on the hustle"" from when first seen selling a cosmetic turtle oil. With O'Shaughnessy, he of the cafe, and a grifter, Poker Lou Libowitz, she institutes the packaging of an instant dessert delight, Joy Jell. The ""little tincan company"" emerges from a warehouse over a barbershop, spreads cross-country under Opal's overwhelming determination to parlay it into an empire like General Foods, and she seems only threatened by the half million dollar lawsuit brought against her by her son, just past the acne stage. . . . Even though Joy-Jell sits as heavily as cold macaroni, Opal stomps through this with pushy, brassy enterprise and, on the grounds of its energetic pizzazz, it might put some ""gelt in your poke.