The Canary Sang But Couldn't Fly: The Fatal Fall of Abe Reles, the Mobster Who Shattered Murder, Inc.'s Code of Silence

Edmund Elmaleh, Author Union Square Press $22.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4027-6113-3
True crime conspiracy buffs have debated for years the 1941 death of Abe Reles, the mafia squeal who fell out a hotel window while in police custody. Years of shoddy investigation and cover-ups have made it impossible to determine exactly what happened to the ""most effective mafia informer"" law enforcement ever held, but it was clear that every mobster in America wanted him dead. In his only book, recently deceased crime writer Elmaleh (1959-2008) collects evidence from multiple investigations to piece together the events of November 12, 1941. The result is an exhaustive report heavy on detail, but light on excitement. Offering no revelations or climactic discoveries, Elmaleh instead sifts through conjecture and hypotheses that only serve to disprove the theory that Reles killed himself-an explanation none but the most naive accepted in the first place. Still, mob history buffs will be pleased with Elmaleh's attention to detail and hefty collection of transcripts. Unfortunately, it's beyond Elmaleh to satisfy casual true crime readers, if only because the Reles case remains far from solved.
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
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Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4549-0262-1
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