The Canary Sang but Couldn't Fly: The Fatal Fall of Abe Reles, the Mobster Who Shattered Murder, Inc.'s Code of Silence

Overview

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 underworld’s code of silence, he had begun "singing” for the courts—giving devastating testimony that implicated former cronies—with more to come. With cops around him day and night, how could Abe have gone out the...

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Overview

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 underworld’s code of silence, he had begun "singing” for the courts—giving devastating testimony that implicated former cronies—with 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 "squealer’s suite” murder him? Here’s the gripping story, packed with political machinations, legal sleight-of-hand, mob violence—and, finally, a proposed answer to the question: How did Abe Reles really die? 

 

Murder mysteries:

Why didn’t 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 hotel—or follow police procedure for interviewing witnesses and securing the crime scene?

 

What do previously classified FBI documents reveal about Brooklyn DA William O’Dwyer, who had plans to run for mayor of New York?

 

Why was the note "Withhold information by order of D.A.” scribbled on Reles’s autopsy report?

 

Why was Abe’s widow so bitterly opposed to reopening the case?

 

Why doesn’t the official story add up?

 

 

 

 

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402761133
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/7/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 496,468
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 31, 2012

    Interesting story. Probably would have been better if it was ab

    Interesting story. Probably would have been better if it was about a well known mobster.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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