Here are some bits and bobs from the research I did for ‘The Mobster’s Lament’. Hopefully they give a sense of the book’s atmosphere. Its backdrop is New York’s nightlife in the late 1940s. A noirish world of rainy nights, neon lights, basement jazz clubs, artist’s lofts, choirines and wise-guy detectives.
The quote is from Lait and Mortimer’s ‘New York Confidential’, published in the 1940s, it’s a massively racist, sexist and homophobic ‘expose’ of crime in the Big Apple. It’s written in this outraged tone, but it explains, in detail, the places you can go to score drugs, hang out with gays and lesbians, pick up a prostitute, or find a gangster. To the point where it even lists addresses, phone numbers, and street corners to stand on. Basically, you could use this ‘expose’ as a travel guide for all the illegal things you could get up to in the city. It’s one of the strangest books I’ve ever read.