THE DIGGSTOWN RINGERS by Leonard Wise

THE DIGGSTOWN RINGERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yet another entry in the scam-caper sweepstakes: an amusing, tasteless rehash of several Paul Newman scripts, largely The Sting. Con man Paul Augustus Caine is resting in Jefferson State Prison (Mo.) when he hears about the town of Diggstown in the Deep South. Diggstown is fight-crazy, the whole town talks boxing night and day, revering the black champion who has retired in their midst. Paul sees this as the perfect setup for a big scam and sends a ringer into town two years ahead of the scam to make himself an accepted townsman. Later, Paul sends two more ringers to work on a pig farm and become well-known before they spring the trap. These two get the townspeople to bet heavily that fighter Honey Roy Palmer (from out of state) can't beat Diggstown's ten best fighters. Honey Roy, Paul's best friend, is a super fighter likely to knock out any ten men the townsmen choose. But the townsmen also have their ringer: psychotic boxer Minoso Torres, who has literally killed numberless men both in and out of the ring. (Remember the psychotic hockey player from Newman's Slapshot?) Paul tries to stay out of the scene and direct it from afar, but at last shows up in his girlfriend Valerie's burgundy Rolls-Royce and soon finds himself deflowering the town's most beautiful virgin. The scam's last twists are clever, but all of it has a double-vision familiarity that makes it seem like The Diggstown Ringers is itself as much a rip-off as any of Paul Augustus Caine's schemes.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday