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Author Talk: Robert Knapp, Mystery Man: Gangsters, Oil & Murder in Michigan at Horizon Books.
The Crime of the Century in Clare, Michigan, comes alive in this vivid account of events and people behind a spectacular 1938 murder in the Doherty Hotel. Meet Isaiah Leebove–brilliant lawyer, artful dodger, friend and mouthpiece to gangsters, oil speculator and inveterate gamble–as he interacts with famous gangsters like Arnold Rothstein, the “fixer” of the 1919 World Series, “Dapper Dan” Collins in New York City and the Purple Gang out of Detroit.
Happily married to a beautiful showgirl, loyal to his extensive family, sympathetic to the downtrodden, his private life is at odds with his work as a mouthpiece and money launderer for the mob.
Leebove is a mysterious figure living and dying in the boundary between respectability and the underworld. Leebove’s murderer, Jack Livingston, consumed by an almost deranged love of showmanship and unbalanced by alcoholism, teeters between genius as an oil speculator and irrational acts of self-deception and destruction.
Was the slaying merely revenge for a perceived slight, or did the mob put him up to getting rid of Leebove? Mystery Man
draws on a wide range of unpublished material, as well as newspaper reports and personal interviews to present this exciting tale gangsters, oil and murder in Michigan.