Authors: Robert Randisi
Table of Contents
EVERYBODY KILLS SOMEBODY SOMETIME
LUCK BE A LADY, DON'T DIE
HEY THERE (YOU WITH THE GUN IN YOUR HAND)
YOU'RE NOBODY 'TIL SOMEBODY KILLS YOU
I'M A FOOL TO KILL YOU *
FLY ME TO THE MORGUE *
IT WAS A VERY BAD YEAR *
YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO DEAD *
THE WAY YOU DIE TONIGHT *
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First published in Great Britain 2013 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9-15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1DF.
First published in the USA 2014 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS of
110 East 59
Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
eBook edition first published in 2014 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
Copyright Â© 2013 by Robert J. Randisi.
The right of Robert J. Randisi to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Randisi, Robert J. author.
The way you die tonight.
(A Rat Pack mystery; 9)
1. Rat Pack (Entertainers) â Fiction.
2. Gianelli, Eddie (Fictitious character) â Fiction.
3. Hughes, Howard, 1905-1976 â Fiction.
4. Casinos â Nevada â Las Vegas Fiction.
5. Missing persons â Investigation â Fiction.
6. Detective and mystery stories.
I. Title II. Series
ISBN-13: 978-07278-8334-6 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-17801-0477-5 (ePub)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
âThe Way You Look Tonight'
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
I love the way you look every night!
here's your Messiah now?'
With all the gangster movies Edward G. Robinson made during his career it was this line, uttered in Cecil B. DeMille's
The Ten Commandments
, for which he is well known. For years comics would use it when impersonating Robinson. âDathan' was as famous a role for him as âRico' in
and âRocco' in
I was at home in my living room, watching
The Ten Commandments
on Turner Classic Movies, as part of a birthday tribute to Edward G. Robinson, who had been born on December 12th, 1893. I had already seen
, and next â after Heston was done chewing the scenery â they were going to finish the day with the movie he did with Frank Sinatra in 1959,
A Hole in the Head
. In it, Frank and Eddie play brothers who don't get along very well, even though they love each other. In point of fact, Frank and Edward G. were friends.
That wasn't the only movie they had made together, though. Eddie had also appeared briefly in
Robin and the 7 Hoods
, one of the Rat Pack movies that was released in 1964. He had an uncredited part as âBig Jim Stevens', a part he played as a favor to Frank.
I was missing one, though, a film I thought they should surely have included, except at the time it hadn't been made as an Edward G. Robinson movie.
The Cincinnati Kid
was a Steve McQueen picture, but as far as I was concerned, Eddie stole that film as the old poker pro âLancey Howard'.
Frank Sinatra was the Chairman of the Board.
Steve McQueen was the King of Cool.
Edward G. Robinson was Little Caesar.
The three men were connected by celluloid.
Frank wrote Steve McQueen into his 1959 film
Never So Few
when, incensed over something Sammy Davis said in an interview, he wrote Sammy out. Sammy eventually earned Frank's forgiveness but the film had been McQueen's big break. Since then he had become a major star in films like
The Great Escape
Baby the Rain Must Fall
Love With the Proper Stranger
I had first met Edward G. Robinson in the Fall of 1964 when he was researching
The Cincinnati Kid
role. Frank had convinced him to come to Sin City to learn everything he could about poker, and to spend some relaxing time with Frank, Dino and Sammy. Because I was friends with the guys, and because Robinson and I shared an âEddie G.' persona, it was only natural that we would meet. Add to that Jack Entratter's determination to make sure Edward G. Robinson had everything he wanted, and the old master and I ended up spending some time together.
These days I spent a lot of time in my condo, which was furnished in what designers would call a spartan manner. I had an easy chair â
a recliner â that I'd settle into, usually with a cup of tea, or something stronger, so I could watch some of my old friends on TCM.
I finished watching the DeMille masterpiece, and then had about fifteen minutes before the next movie started. My kitchen was the kind with âette' on the end of the word, with a small oven, a refrigerator, and a tiny counter. I got myself some crackers and cheese, and then tonight a small bourbon. One drink at night usually served to relax and help me sleep, when simple tea didn't do the job. (Octogenarians need help sleeping, sometimes.)
While I waited for the next film to start, I took the time to drift back and think about everything that had happened in that Fall of 1964 â¦
was watching a high-stakes poker game that was going on in one of the Sands' large suites. Having put some of our âwhales' â our biggest and richest clients â together for this game, Entratter had assigned me to watch and keep the peace. This was not only a clash of bankrolls, it was a clash of egos, as well. According to Entratter, nobody handled big egos like I did. Faint praise.
I was standing off to one side, watching the five men at the poker table â six if you count the dealer. There wasn't a lot of talking during a game like this, not with thousands of dollars at stake.
Three of the players were regulars. The other two I'd found to round out the game. I hadn't wanted to bring them in, because I didn't know them, but Entratter wanted the game to come off, so reluctantly I recruited them.
I watched the two new players carefully for the first couple of hours. Everything seemed on the up-and-up. When the relief dealer came in â a pretty girl named Laura â the players continued to pay attention to their cards.
The regulars were Dan Roburt, a big time gambler in his fifties; Harry Devlin, about sixty, a millionaire businessman who came to town twice a year to blow a bundle; William Landry, a hotshot producer from Hollywood, at the top of his game at forty, who came to Vegas to indulge all his vices: gambling and drinking. I heard he was never drunk when he was working, but it seemed to me he was always drinking when he gambled. And yet, when he lost it wasn't because of that. He was just a terrible poker player.
The newcomers were Sam Temple, in his forties, and Carl Butler, also in his forties. I didn't know much more about them, except that they played for high stakes. When I offered them a chance at a big game, they jumped at it. As far as I could tell, they had never previously met.
Aside from me and the dealer, the room had a bartender, and a security man named Kendrick. Entratter would drop in a time or two.
âI hear Edward G. Robinson and Steve McQueen are makin' a movie about poker,' Devlin said.
âThat's what I hear,' Landry, the producer said, âbut how do you know that?'
âEasy,' Devlin said. âThey tried to recruit me as an investor.'
âNo go?' Landry asked. âDon't like investing in movies?'
âI don't mind that,' Devlin said, âbut I lose enough money at poker without investing in a poker movie.'
âDon't think it'll be any good?'
âSteve McQueen?' Devlin said. âHe's a punk. And Robinson is over the hill. That's got flop written all over it.'
I didn't agree, but I wasn't there to partake in the conversation. Neither were they, for that matter. They got back to the game, and conversation was once again at a bare minimum, limited to âopen', âraise' and âfold'.