Winner of the 2010 Minnesota
Frank "Jelly" Nash was dead. And since the notorious bank
robber was shot in the head in 1933 during a daring escape
attempt, he was deader than most. So why was he sending
letters and emails to Rushmore McKenzie, asking the retired
cop, unexpected millionaire, and unlicensed P.I. for help?
To answer the question, McKenzie joins forces with Ivy, a
beautiful woman from his past - and her boyfriend - in a
frantic search for $8 million in gold that Jelly stole just
before his death. But they aren't the only ones looking. So
are a couple of two-bit thugs, a woman named Heavenly, a local
big-wig with much to hide, and an odd assortment of ne'er-do-wells.
The search delves deeply into St. Paul, Minnesota's colorful
and infamous past as the treasure-seekers scurry for clues.
In the early 20th century, St. Paul was an open city - a place
where gangsters could come and stay unmolested by the local
authorities as long as they committed no crimes within the
city limits. John Dillinger, Bugsy Siegel, Ma Barker's
murderous brood, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, Machine Gun Kelly,
Pretty Boy Floyd, notorious gunman Vern Miller, and yes,
Frank Nash, were often spotted frequenting the city's clubs
and casinos, and their activities are carefully examined as
the rivals dual each other.
The treasure hunt turns unexpectedly deadly when the boyfriend
is shot dead out side of Ivy's apartment. Suddenly, McKenzie
is looking for more than a legendary stash from seventy-five
years ago, he's looking for a stone killer and the long-hidden
truth behind Jelly's gold.
"If you haven't discovered Housewright, you're in for a real
treat - this is a real gem from one of America's best crime
--Lansing State Journal
"A clever entertainment driven by an amianle protagonist --
Housewright's best in quite a while."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"In Edgar-winner Housewright's enjoyable sixth novel to
feature PI Rushmore "Mac" McKenzie (after 2008's Madman on a
Drum), graduate student Ivy Flynn, last seen in 2005's Tin City,
and her new boyfriend believe gold from a 1933 bank robbery
engineered by Frank "Jelly" Nash is still hidden somewhere in
St. Paul, Minn. When Mac agrees to investigate, it becomes
apparent others are after the same pot of gold, now worth at
least $8 million. The searchers consult historical archives
and private letters, interview descendants of crooks and bigwigs,
and even manage to locate one ancient ex-con who knew Nash.
Readers get a dual treat as the likable Mac deals with a parade
of present-day sharpies and gold hunters, while Housewright
retells the story of the wholesale corruption that for decades
made St. Paul a playground for a who's who of gangsters,
including John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and others who
hobnobbed with St. Paul's upper crust."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Housewright not only writes a compelling historical mystery
here, but also engages in reconstructive history, using
contemporary accounts to trace Nash’s movements in 1933. He
also employs a nifty device to bring the history into the novel,
careening between McKenzie and other seekers of the prize and
Nash’s own words cast into fictional form. Readers will learn
a great deal of fascinating information, including the fact
that Nash’s nickname Jelly stands for his favorite safecracking
device, nitroglycerin. Top notch."
-- Booklist starred review