Sunday, October 23, 2016
Stone Soup, by David Edgerley Gates
This is the fourth appearance by David Edgerley Gates in my Best-of-the Week list, the first since he joined me on the SleuthSayers blog.
It is also the second appearance here for Mickey Counihan, who works for the Hannahs, an Irish crime family in 1940s New York. Mickey describes himself in this story as "muscle," but he's being modest. I'd call him a fixer, running some low level schemes, and looking out for the family's interest. Here is Mickey describing the status quo:
We'd made peace with the capos, the money my kids brought in from the numbers racket was steady, wagers at the racetrack books were up, sin was paying off on our investment.
But sin was the problem facing a guy named Hinny Boggs, who asked Mickey for help. His wife's second cousin, Ginger, was pregnant and unwed. Worse, she wanted to keep the baby. Much worse, the father was Monsignor Devlin, the cardinal's right hand man. Which meant Ginger had to vanish before she wound up in much worse trouble than just being in trouble.
She doesn't need a white knight, though. Just a black hat like Mickey, willing to pull in favors and negotiate deals with some of his personal enemies for a woman he's never met.
My one complaint about this story is that Gates under-utilized the metaphor in his title. As I recall, in the old tale it took a whole village to make stone soup, which is relevant to the events here.
Very satisfactory piece.