For Americans who loved or admired John F. Kennedy, 1963 was indeed a very bad year, but it doesn’t seem to have been so hard on Kennedy's friend Frank Sinatra, despite the kidnapping of his son Frank Jr.
Though he’s a friend of Frank’s, it takes quite a while for Sands pit boss Eddie Gianelli to get a call from him. First, Eddie’s got to help Joey Bishop’s co-star Abby Dalton recover some indiscreet pictures photographer Barney Irwin had snapped of her when she was young, innocent and naked. Backed up by Brooklyn behemoth Jerry Epstein, Eddie breaks into Barney’s place but finds nothing more risqué than cheesecake shots. So, when Barney holds out for more money than Abby’s willing to pay, Eddie gets Jerry to lean on Barney. This whole contretemps, complete with gunsels and murder, is no more than a curtain raiser for the abduction of Frank Sinatra Jr. by a crew that demands $240,000(?!) for his safe return. Distraught, Frank begs Eddie to make the drop-off, and the result is gratifyingly routine for the good guys, though a little frustrating for thrill-seeking readers. Eddie steadfastly insists that he’s not a private eye, and indeed, this time his detection is limited to noticing and interpreting a list of names on a sheet of paper intriguingly headed “Nov. 22.”
Little mystery and less suspense. But Eddie’s relaxed recollections of his seventh canter around the Vegas nostalgia track (Fly Me to the Morgue, 2011, etc.) are a perfect nightcap for fans who don’t want to elevate their pulse rate before dropping off to sleep.