The Busy Body

Front Cover
Open Road Media, Oct 25, 2011 - Fiction - 176 pages
1 Review
Edgar Award Finalist: A mob boss’s right-hand man must track down a missing cache of heroin. The corpse isn’t anybody special—a low-level drug courier—but it has been so long since the organization’s last grand funeral that Nick Rovito decides to give the departed a big send-off. He pays for a huge church, a procession of Cadillacs, and an ocean of flowers, and enjoys the affair until he learns the dead man is going to his grave wearing the blue suit. Rovito summons Engel, his right-hand man, and tells him to get a shovel. Inside the lining of the blue suit jacket is $250,000 worth of uncut heroin, smuggled back from Baltimore the day the courier died. When Engel’s shovel strikes coffin, he braces himself for the encounter with the dead man. But the coffin is empty, the heroin gone, and Engel has no choice but to track down the missing body or face his boss’s wrath.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Al Engel joins a New York mob group, led by Nick. A lesser mob member, Charlie, dies unexpectedly and is buried in what Nick thinks is a coat with valuable heroin in the seams. Charlie was a courier, running money and drugs between New York and a drop point. Al is given the task of digging up the body and retrieving the coat. When he tries to do so, the body is missing. Therein lies the mystery. Who other than someone aware of the heroin in the coat would dig up the body? Al finally gets to the bottom of it. Short book. Somewhat entertaining, though outdated. No cell phones, people still use pay phones, and so on. Everything takes place in and around New York City. Like so many other books. I am not a New York City fan, but I liked the book anyway.  

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses—often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms—but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Westlake’s cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson’s noir classic.

Bibliographic information