Synopses & Reviews
It remains one of the most enduring mysteries in gangland lore: in 1941, while Abe Reles and three other key informants were under round-the-clock NYPD protection, the ruthless and powerful thug took a deadly plunge from the window of a Coney Island hotel. The first criminal of his stature to break the underworlds code of silence, he had begun singing” for the courtsgiving devastating testimony that implicated former cronieswith more to come. With cops around him day and night, how could Abe have gone out the window? Did he try to escape? Did a hit man break in? Or did someone in the squealers suite” murder him? Heres the gripping story, packed with political machinations, legal sleight-of-hand, mob violenceand, finally, a proposed answer to the question: How did Abe Reles really die?
Why didnt police investigate the mysterious sounds they heard on the night that Reles died?
Why did the lead investigator fail to gather crucial evidence at the hotelor follow police procedure for interviewing witnesses and securing the crime scene?
What do previously classified FBI documents reveal about Brooklyn DA William ODwyer, who had plans to run for mayor of New York?
Why was the note Withhold information by order of D.A.” scribbled on Reless autopsy report?
Why was Abes widow so bitterly opposed to reopening the case?
Why doesnt the official story add up?
"True crime conspiracy buffs have debated for years the 1941 death of Abe Reles, the mafia squeal who fell out a hotel window while in police custody. Years of shoddy investigation and cover-ups have made it impossible to determine exactly what happened to the 'most effective mafia informer' law enforcement ever held, but it was clear that every mobster in America wanted him dead. In his only book, recently deceased crime writer Elmaleh (1959-2008) collects evidence from multiple investigations to piece together the events of November 12, 1941. The result is an exhaustive report heavy on detail, but light on excitement. Offering no revelations or climactic discoveries, Elmaleh instead sifts through conjecture and hypotheses that only serve to disprove the theory that Reles killed himself-an explanation none but the most naive accepted in the first place. Still, mob history buffs will be pleased with Elmaleh's attention to detail and hefty collection of transcripts. Unfortunately, it's beyond Elmaleh to satisfy casual true crime readers, if only because the Reles case remains far from solved." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for Edmund Elmaleh:
Elmalehs The Canary Sang but Couldn't Fly is a riveting treatment of one of the most remarkable stories in the annals of American crime and politics. A great read!”Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland, Paradise Alley, and Strivers Row
Elmaleh has brought fresh energy, a fresh point of view, and a flair for original research to this story, tracing its conspiracies in the best tradition of life mimicking film noir. This blank spot in New Yorks underworld history deserves to be filled, and Elmaleh fills it.”Kenneth D. Ackerman, author of Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield; Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York; and Young J. Edgar: Hoover, the Red Scare, and the Assault on Civil Liberties
In 1941, Abe Reles became the first mobster to break the underworld's code of silence by giving devastating testimony that implicated former cronies. However, a plunge from a window in a Coney Island hotel silenced Reles forever. Elmaleh examines the case.