The Busy Body
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.
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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 Somewhat entertaining, though outdated.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.