The Wicked Wives

The Wicked Wives

by Gus Pelagatti

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When I was an eight year old boy I overheard adults in my South Philadelphia neighborhood discussing 17 disenchanted and unfaithful neighborhood wives who murdered their husbands for insurance money, love and lust. This was a fascinating topic for an eight year old boy eavesdropping on adult conversation. The adults were discussing the true story of Philadelphia’s infamous 1938 murder scandals. My fascination led to obsession. I knew that I had to write about these wicked wives someday.

After I became a trial lawyer in 1964, I researched the poison murder cases in the law library and obtained newspaper accounts of the scandals dating back to October, 1938. Thereafter I conducted interviews with judges, lawyers, police, witnesses, sheriff deputies and neighbors who knew the defendants.

One of the chief conspirators was a tailor who seduced, then persuaded at least twelve wives to poison their husbands for insurance. The setting for his seductions was the couch in the rear of his tailor shop, located two blocks from our family home.

A fascinating conspiracy unfolded in these murder cases. The poison gang’s colorful and hilarious characters helped to deep-six a minimum of 20 husbands. The supporting cast includes Giorgio, “The Don Juan of Passyunk Avenue. ” Aside from scheming Lillian, “the society wife”, the wives include Rose, the “Kiss of Death Widow, ” Eva “the nymphomaniac” and the “hopelessly in love, ” Joanna.

After many comical episodes, intriguing detective work and two suspense filled high profile trials, 12 wives plead or are found guilty of murdering their husbands. Two male conspirators were executed in the electric chair.

"The Wicked Wives" gleefully explores the sins of lust and greed, and the disappointments that love often brings. The characters, although they commit murder and adultery, are extremely likable, and often amusing. Writing “The Wicked Wives” was a true labor of love.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013218611
Publisher: Gus Pelagatti
Publication date: 10/04/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 418 KB

About the Author

Gus Pelagatti is still a practicing trial lawyer with 47 years of experience trying criminal and civil cases in Philadelphia. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Club Forum, limited to attorneys who have been recognized as achieving a excellence as a trial lawyer.

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Wicked Wives 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
sewolf0310 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the time of the depression, this is truly what soap operas are made of. The story of numerous wives-evil, mean, deceitful and vicious-all planning and plotting murder of their husbands to collect their insurance policies. All the while they are having affairs with various men.And the men! They are no better than the women-liars, cheats and even a bookie or two.What a great mix of numerous characters, some more shadier than others, but luckily there are the few good ones thrown into the mix for good measure. Someone has to figure out who is the mastermind behind all the murders. Then there is the ¿Lady in Black¿ that the women will never tell who she really is. You¿ll have to read the entire story to see who is convicted of what crimes, who is sentenced, who is a conspirator and what happens to everyone in the book. A few spelling errors that could have easily been corrected, but overall a very good read. Definitely keeps you turning the pages.
wrighton-time on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Article first published as Book Review: The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti on Blogcritics.Time and tide are steady and reliable, functions you can rely on. When you involve personalities and events however, egos and feelings as well as the search for the everlasting dollar contribute to how those various functions relate to lives. Tide may never change, but time is elusive, you can have more¿or you can have less. Sometimes fate intercedes. Sometimes that fate if brought about by those you know in unimaginable ways. Murder is not new; it has been around for thousands of years. The reasons are varied and yet make sense to the perpetrator at the time, but not necessarily to anyone else.In The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti, we are given the opportunity to look into the lives of a group of both women and men that were responsible for the murders of the women¿s husbands in the 1930's. The story is based off a true set of crimes, and the strange and unethical reasons understate how little it takes for some to cross over to the side of murder. During this time in Philadelphia, the scandal resulted in seventeen wives being arrested for murdering their husbands. It would take one man to stand up for the victims and uncover the acts that would bring justice.During the depression, money was scarce and this is the story about how a group of women went about finding the money to lead the lifestyles they were accustomed to, and the depravity of the acts they were willing to use to get where they felt they had to go. Not alone in their disenchanted lives, there appeared to be a mastermind, one who helped and used convincing arguments that allowed them the reasoning for killing their husbands for the insurance money. This man was also an integral part of the process and a lover to all of the women involved. Pelagatti has used his background as a trial lawyer to help dig into the files and do the research behind this strange and bizarre set of crimes and bring us a story of these women and their prolific thoughts and reasoning¿s. He digs deep into the psyche of those involved and brings us a look at the lives they led and the circumstances that lead them to the final act of taking another¿s life.As the story unfolds Pelagatti has a way of bringing sadness to the lives of those involved although each murder was well thought out and planned with malice. The women themselves almost came across as victims as well in some cases, but each time the crime seems so brutal. The conspirator, Giorgia DiSipio, was an amazing con man and as such he created a con for each of the wives. They seemed almost naïve in their belief that they were his one and only love. Even their knowledge of the others could not convince them of his unreliability. The story moves from time and place in a well-orchestrated fashion keeping you interested and often in disbelief. While the money involved seems so small in our day and times, we are continually reminded of the times and the depression as it affected the lives of all those involved. If you are interested in true crime and murder mysteries, you will find this a strong starting point. The methodology behind the killings and the brutality of the process leaves you wondering how this could have happened. Pelagatti not only tells us a story of the times he is able to set some strange red herrings and give us a surprise that you do not see coming. This would be a great book for your true crime library, full of history and real life. I believe it would also be a great find for a reading group, a way to discuss how little is can take to make someone step over the edge. This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
Staciele on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is typically not my genre for books, but after reading the first chapter, I had to read how this story played out. With short chapters and a fast-paced writing style, I quickly read through this story. The story has lots of dialogue and minimal descriptive elements, so you are able to move right along. I found the government corruption and misuse of power to be much the same as what we read about in today's news. Even in the 1930's people's use of drugs, sex, and violence mimic much of what we read today, but today, people are caught due to high-tech autopsies, fingerprint testing, and DNA technology. I found the detective end of the case very interesting as they pieced the crimes together the "old-fashioned" way. Even though one of the wives (I won't spoil it and say which one) was not found guilty, I think the way the detective and DA stuck to their case was to be commended. They had much to lose by staying on this case and I'm not sure in today's harsh political climate, that someone would risk it all to make it right. I have to hope there are people much like D.A.Tom Rossi still in this world. Pelagatti obviously spent much time and effort researching these cases and finding ways to make the story even more interesting to the reader. The way the story played out reminded me a lot of those 20/20 type of news specials that are on weeknight TV. The story also reminded me of THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, a story of murder during the World's Fair in Chicago. Yes, even in simpler times, there was sex, drugs and murder. The story of all these murderers and their victims was heartbreaking, as so many women were deceived by one man. I must warn you that the sexual activities in this novel are descriptive and frequent, but a necessary part of the story. The lives taken because of lust and greed were unfortunate and the ripple effects from the mistakes of these women were felt for many years. This novel has true crime, suspense, and historical fiction wrapped into one exciting novel. All the way through the novel, the author keeps you on your toes and then ends it with a shocking twist that will be sure to drop your jaw. Gus Pelagatti is a practicing trial lawyer with offices in Philadelphia. He based this novel on numerous interviews with judges, lawyers, and witnesses involved in these cases.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I used to read quite a lot of true crime so when Gus Pelagatti contacted me requesting a review of Wicked Wives my interest was piqued. The 1938 case the author has based his novel on is quite sensational, particularly for the times, though a similar case in modern times would be no less so. Based on a true story that occurred in Philadelphia, Gus Pelagatti's fictionalised account of a complex murder conspiracy is an interesting and entertaining read.When DA Tom Rossi, despite venomous opposition and threats, persisted in his investigation into the suspicious death of Reggie Stoner, he had no idea he would eventually uncover an elaborate scheme that involved murder, adultery, drugs, insurance fraud and blackmail. Manipulated by charismatic tailor, Giorgio DiSipio, desperate wives agreed to take out life insurance policies on their husbands and then stood by, or actively participated, in their murders. Successfully negotiating political corruption, deceit and threats, Tom Rossi would eventually bring more than twenty people to trial on charges of murder and conspiracy to murder.I found the story of the case quite fascinating, it's an elaborate web of conspiracy aided by corruption, with unlikely criminal suspects and victims. Yet it took just one loose thread, and a determined prosecutor to unravel, what could have been considered the perfect crime. In fact I would think there were probably wives and their victims who were never identified. Pelagatii builds the story not unlike the way a trial lawyer might sum up a case to a jury, providing background on the people involved and ensuring the facts are unambiguous. The twist, when it comes, is unexpected, proof that sometimes, real life is stranger than fiction.Pelagatti's experience as a trial lawyer is evident in the novel, though there is little of the actual court proceedings, it is structured not unlike a brief with facts and details carefully laid out to reach an unassailable conclusion. The author, who grew up in just a few streets away from the infamous tailor shop, interviewed many of the original lawyers, detectives and witnesses in the case. It's not clear how much of the personalities of the conspirators are gleaned from known facts, or to what extent the author has added his own interpretation to the emotions and motivations of the men and women involved, but it reads as genuine.It is easy to forget that part of this tale is fictionalised, as the tone is closer to a true life crime recount than a novel. It matters little though for Wicked Wives is an intriguing story of a scandalous and unique crime.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Tom Rossi is in line to be an assistant District Attorney. While on a case, he meets Lillian Stoner, who just lost her husband to pneumonia. But something is fishy to Tom and he wants to continue his investigation. Unfortunately Lillian is the niece of a high political leader. It is made clear to Tom that if he pursues this case he will not make assistant DA. But Tom proceeds anyway. Enter Giorgio DeSipio, a well known womanizer. He is well known to the ladies in Philadelphia. He works the unhappily married women; he knows how to keep them wanting more but to never get attached. Giorgio is recruited to get the women to take out insurance policies on their husbands, with the help of corrupt insurance agents. Then the wives kill their husbands for the insurance money, in 1938 many people died from pneumonia and such which is similar to how some poisons work. Of course Giorgio has plenty of women that want to make him an honest man and there are plenty of unhappy, adulterous women to keep him going. I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with true crime stories. I love to read them but there are some that are so dry about the facts that they just make the story unbearable. I admit that it was a little challenging for me to get into the beginning of the story. There are a lot of characters so I had a harder time sorting them out. Now, once I had that down, I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. I felt for Tom, his is trying to do the right thing but he is getting pressure to stop the investigation. There was clearly a lot of research done because I felt like I was right there trying to figure out what is going on. Plus knowing that this actually happened back in the 30’s Philadelphia just made it even better. For those that like a good true crime story, this is one book you don’t wan to miss out on. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS This is a well told story. Can't believe all the murders for money. This is based on a true story it also has a suspenseful question of who was the lady dressed in black. I had never heard of this Poison murder case of all the wives who worked together to kill their husband for insurance money, till I was contacted by Gus Pelagatti to read his book. It is not a uplifting story. The wives are having affairs with more than one partner. Most of them had an affair with the tailor. They knew he had lots of lovers. He was even married himself. He convinced them to kill their husbands for money. He would help them get insurance on their husbands without them knowing and they would split the money. The story is laid out in away that showed how the proscuter figured out his cases. In fact it even showed some of court cases. Their even showed some of the outcomes some guilty and some innocent. I enjoyed the story and could not believe the outcome. I was given this ebook to read by the author and asked to give honest review of it when done. Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 20, 2011) 299 pages ISBN: 0615674364
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Wicked Indeed! BOOK SYNOPSIS "Wicked Wives" is based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals in which seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands. Mastermind conspirator Giorgio DiSipio, a stunning lothario and local tailor who preys upon disenchanted and unfaithful wives, convinces twelve of them to kill their spouses for insurance money. The murder conspiracy is very successful until one lone assistant D.A., Tom Rossi, uncovers the plot and brings the perpetrators to justice. "Wicked Wives" is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, love, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia. My Thoughts My first exposure to the depravity, the sheer desperate evil perpetrated by these women came fairly soon in the beginning of the story. I was appalled at the lengths to which these women went to ensure their own desires were catered to and the ultimate sacrifice made by the men whose every whim these women had was honored to the best of their ability.  As a matter of fact the further into the narrative I read the uglier the revelations were as to the lengths took to insure life for the women was made easier at the expense of the lives of men they took vows to love and cherish, guess the 'till death do us part' clause was the only vow the women took seriously! I guess when you are accustomed to a certain standard of living; when prestige and appearance mean more than good moral behavior much less honesty, fidelity or self-sacrifice for the good of another; than one can understand a little better what motivated the women to conspire to and then commit multiple murders.  I will be honest, my first thought was how thankful I was not to know anyone as cold-hearted or calculating as the women portrayed in the pages of this story. For my own peace of mind that made it easier to keep reading and keep shaking my head at just how twisted and shockingly brutal these women were in their pursuit of greed, lust and love! Have you ever watched a news broadcast that repulsed you at the same time your curiosity was aroused to the point you had to continue watching to see what actually happened and learn why it happened? This tale has the same fascination, it makes you feel ill that there are people motivated so much by greed or lust that they would go to such extremes to get what they want.  In todays world we see things on the news and read about things in newspapers that are much worse than what we read about in this story, however what kept running through my mind is why the women ever really believed their actions would go unpunished when the crimes they committed were so readily apparent to anyone who looked at the evidence of the death's.  For someone who does not read a lot of stories based on true accounts this was really interesting, it read somewhat like a good old-fashioned who-done-it with enough spice, gallows humor and drama mixed in to keep one flipping those pages to see how everything turned out. What really kept me inspired was despite earlier roadblocks put in his way Tom Rossi kept hammering out a case, during his investigations into one of the women he found out that he had stumbled upon a widespread conspiracy which included up to a dozen women who had participated in murdering their husbands for insurance money.  This case spanned four years, it was sensationalized by the press at the time in the book and if it had happened today am sure it would have even more news coverage which played up the more salacious angles to the public. When readers compare forensic investigation methods today, that are far superior to those in the 1930's time period when the murders took place, they should be glad that we have the knowledge, manpower and technology available otherwise quite obviously there would be more criminals get off scot free just like some of the people in this book did.  All in all can truly say though that along with the totally unforeseen twist at the end the way the author took fact mixed with fiction made for a pretty compelling read, this one could indeed be made into a movie easily as it has all the qualities Hollywood looks for to grab audiences attention and keep them watching! [Kindle copy from author in exchange for honest review]
Bex_n_Books More than 1 year ago
Gus Pellagatti's 'Wicked Wives' is a fascinating and intriguing read. There were so many moments that I was caught up and absorbed in his writing and storyline. I was a little hesitant, yet curious before starting this book. I love mysteries, yet I'm not a fan of non-fiction, so was unsure what to expect from this book as it's a fictionalized account of the 1930s scandal in Philadelphia. I'm pleased that I took the risk as I did enjoy this book. I enjoyed several of the characters, and how the plot developed and twisted. I wasn't a huge fan of the dialogue. Unfortunately, I felt that this held the characters back a little and didn't quite provide a natural flow for truly believable characters. If you are looking for a piece of fiction, seeped in history filled with mystery and intrigue, then be sure to pick up a copy of 'Wicked Wives'. 3.5 stars. Disclaimer: A copy of Wicked Wives was received for free in exchange for an honest review.
lexley More than 1 year ago
Geez, Louise but this book! Seriously, I do not delve into "true crime" and where as some of this book is fictionalized there are still some solid facts involved! Oh dear me! This book had me hooked from the beginning! The drama! The conspiracies! The scheming evil wives! AHHH! The story was intense and well written. There are so many threads woven together to make a wonderful tale. I cannot begin to describe it and do it justice! (This is why I read not write lol) This book was like reading a soap opera, but with better acting and more plot! Gus Pelagatti has written a book that will please even the most die hard crime story fan. It really has everything you could, lies, and scandals! Oh so deliciously thrilling! I loved every page of it.
Jeff-Wallace More than 1 year ago
Wicked Wives by Gustine H. Pelagatti is a legal thriller that will captivate its audience with ruthless politics, murdering wives and lovers, conspiracies and romance. It is a fiction account of an actual poisoning crime ring that took place in the city of Philadelphia in the late 1930s. The story starts with Lilian and Reggie Stoner having a night out and discussing their failing marriage. Shortly after the couple arrive home Reggie is dead. Even though the family doctor rules that the death is a result of pneumonia the assistant District Attorney thinks otherwise. Soon the assistant District Attorney starts investigating the death of Reggie Stoner but quickly runs into a road in the form of Deputy Mayor Bill Evans, a ruthless politician and Lilian's uncle. Despite the threats, from the Deputy Mayor, assistant D.A. Tom Rossi continues his investigation where he uncovers more murders and soon finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy ring of wives poisoning their husbands, insurance fraud and sex. As Mr. Rossi digs into his investigation he finds that the ring is being orchestrated by a mysterious woman only known as the woman in black referring to the all black outfit she wears. It is not long before Mr. Rossi starts making arrest in the case only to run into some complications as some of his key witnesses being dying at the hands of the mysterious woman in black and her companion only known as the giant. Eventually Mr. Rossi arrest and tries Lilian Stoner, Eva Bell Fitzpatrick, Joanna Napoli, Giorgio Dicipio and several other wives and conspirators. Through all the trails and convictions he keeps looking for the mysterious woman and her companion. They finally track down the giant but it is too late as Mr. Rossi and Chief of detectives Mike Fine find the man has been poisoned by the woman in black. Throughout the book Mr. Pelagatti shows a great command of the element of suspense with keeping us guess on just who this mystery woman can be and just how she is able to one step ahead in the investigation. The book is thoroughly enjoyable as you will find yourself involved in the investigation wanting to find out just how deep it will go. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys murder mysteries, politics and legal fiction. I give it 5 out of 5 stars
acesrwild777 More than 1 year ago
Wicked Wives by Gustine Pelagatti is a murder/suspense novel based on the true crime events in Philadelphia taking place during the years 1937-1941. The story follows 4 women in particular (instead of all 17 that were involved in the actual criminal case) and the husbands they attempt to murder. However it isn’t as simple as women who are unhappy and decide to kill their husbands. Tom Rossi, an assistant DA, believes these women were convinced to murder their husband and searches for a common thread in the cases. Rossi believes the interlocking puzzle piece is Giorgio DiSipio, a tailor, who is seducing these women and promising them to split the life insurance money (of their planned dead husbands) and then to marry them, leaving his handicap wife to do so. The novel contains a few sex scenes that really help set up the image of DiSipio as a snake and womanizer. The author successively weaves an intricately complicated and connected thriller. There are several conflicts set up within the story that keep you turning the pages searching for resolve. One in particular I found frustrating was between Rossi and the deputy, Mayor Evans who was involved with the mother of Lillian (one of the murdering wives). While there are several characters within the book I felt the author did a superb job of developing each of them fully. Rossi is definitely likeable, and while I can’t say some of the wicked wives, I did empathize with them occasionally. The dialogue was real and witty, which really urges the story forward. The descriptions within the novel are wonderful and I loved the different backgrounds developed for the core women, because while I know almost nothing about the time period (late 30s) I can relate to descriptions of both the depression and Seabiscuit. There is more than just murder involved in this book, gambling, fraud, and the mob are all prevalent criminal activities occurring throughout the book. A surprising character thrown into the mix is the Lady in Black. Her involvement in the story keeps you on your toes, especially when you realize Giorgio fears her. I personally was very impressed with the ending. Wicked Wives is stacked with suspense and in the final court seen the tension is palpable. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys either a good mystery or thriller!
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violetb More than 1 year ago
Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti is a historical fiction book loosely based on an old case from Philadelphia. In 1939, seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands. Thus, a book is born. The setting of the book is Philadelphia, PA, during the 30's. Several wives all fall in love with same guy, Giorgio, who was known as the Don Juan of Passyunck Avenue. He is the thread that binds the stories of poison and death together. All the wives seem to become enamored with him and are willing to do anything to become his "lady". There are a few titillating sex scenes to demonstrate his prowess He helps the wives poison their husbands for a cut of the insurance money. He also "services" the wives. Remembering that this is the depression era , the wives seem willing to kill for an amazingly small amount of money. Some policies were only $5000. Giorgio and his harem go undetected until they crossed paths with a mother who would not believe her son died from pneumonia. This mother set the wheels turning and involved Tom Rossi in the case. Tom Rossi, the assistant DA, figures out that not only did this woman kill her husband, but there is a conspiracy among several women who have also killed their husbands. Of course , he must prove his case as his unwinds the weave of deception. There is a Lady in Black featured throughout the book who is the mastermind behind all the murders and insurance fraud. It is interesting who she turns out to be and a real twist in the story. Wicked Wives holds your attention for most of the book. Although sometimes, I did get confused with all the different characters and the great amount of details at times bogged the story down. I still think it is well worth reading. I loved the twist at the end. There is something for everyone in the book: crime, fraud, murder, love, sex, betrayal and some justice. *This review is based on a complimentary copy received in exchange for my opinion of the book.*
KelliT More than 1 year ago
Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti Is a historical fiction novel based on an old case in Philadelphia. Focused mainly in the 1930's and 1940's, it's full of gangsters, glamour, and the uncertainty of the times; a sordid tale of deception, scandal and crime with a hint of romance. Wicked Wives packs a punch! The story unfolds to detail the affairs of multiple women with Giorgio (a.k.a, the Don Juan of Passyunck Avenue), his Achilles heel being women... married women. Things seem to go in his favor until one of his “girlfriends” murders her husband, nearly successfully covering it up until his mother demands his death be investigated. The assistant DA, Tom Rossi, takes the case and investigates in depth, fighting Deputy Mayor Bill Evans the entire case. In the end, a ring of adulterers-turned-murderers centered around Giorgio surface. All parties involved are found out and turn on one another -- except for the ringleaders, The Giant and The Black Lady. By the end of the story, in a surprising twist, you find out Rossi knew The Black Lady all along... Wicked Wives is a well written crime novel. I vastly enjoyed the well thought-out and detailed characters and all of the drama that surrounds them. The parts involving Tom Rossi and his career as Assistant DA were extremely well written and very realistic -- I could definitely tell Gus Pelagatti has a background in Law. There were a few transitions in the story that didn't flow quite naturally. But overall, I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it. If you want to be drawn into a world of crime, suspense, love triangles, danger, and justice, this is a must read!
Freeman_Writing More than 1 year ago
The Wicked Wives is a more than interesting read that gives a fictional account of a true chain of murders that took place in the early 20th century. While there aren’t many clues for investigators to go on at first, the mastermind behind these crimes isn’t the most obvious culprit - i.e., the numerous wives who had their husbands killed for the insurance money - but a sex-crazed gangster who seems bent on conquering the world while he bends lonely and unhappy wives to his twisted will. I enjoyed this read very much, but I would have enjoyed it much more without the frequent scenes of adult content. I’m sure this is something that many people enjoy in their books, and it is even relevant to this account since sex was the method used by the mastermind of these schemes, but I’ve always preferred the details of each encounter to be left as something understood, but not specifically depicted. That being said, those parts were brief and easy to skim while the characters were more than interesting, and I genuinely appreciated the way the characters gained depth and history as the book progressed, rather than confusing the reader with too much information right “off the bat”. The dialogue was believable, and the language styles used generally fit this time period, so it is also clear that Gus Pelagatti did his homework to compose an authentic True Crime story that keeps you turning pages. All in all, I would rate The Wicked Wives at 4 out of 5 stars – it would have been an easy 4.6 if not for the adult content, but it was still a very enjoyable read. I always love a good mystery, I enjoy reading books set in early time periods, and True Crime is the very most interesting fiction to me because it represents events that truly took place, automatically lending a great deal of authenticity to the story, and making readers curious to read the (often far less interesting) historical accounts of the same events. Thanks for the good read!
MollyzReviewz More than 1 year ago
Being a lover of all things murderous and crime-filled (i.e., books, movies, TV crime shows, Snapped, 48 Hours, etc.), I jumped at reviewing this. I loved the fact that it was based on real murders and in Pennsylvania (my family is from there, so yea....gotta read the books set there!). What I found among the pages for this incredible book, was so much more than a book of crime. It's filled with amazing mysterious twists and turns of the events. From start to finish the author drags the reader to the center of such horrific circumstances. The reader is held on by the many events and by the end of the book, you don't know whether, to cry out in turmoil or cry out in hate for people within in the book! Taking the true events of a terrible, unthinkable murder crime in the 1930's, Pelagatti shows the reader through all the court room angst and drama, all the pain of the families, all the long drawn out events of piecing the whys and who's together. During the Depression era, these wives were more than just wives. They were killers. They were falling into the preying hands of Giorgio DiSipio, the most evil of men. He would prey on these women, corrupt their minds with evil, and then they would fall victim to becoming a killer. I don't care how much money I would gain, I have a family and can't imagine falling like that. But these women did. And Pelagatti turned this reader into one of those women, if but for a time, to see through their eyes, their minds. Through serious settings, richly detailed court room scenes and total mind corruption, Pelagatti takes the reader on a fast-paced first-hand look at the minds of these truly wicked women. From start to finish, you will not be able to put this book down. I am glad I had the chance to read this book....those this 5 Book worthy plot line was written on true happenings from the Depression era, 1930's Philly, this reads incredibly like a piece of fiction, creating a book that I highly, highly recommend! *This review is based on a complimentary copy received in exchange for honest opinion*
Book_DivaKS More than 1 year ago
The Wicked Wives is a masterful crafting of a real life scandal involving intrigue, sex and murder that is reminiscent of the great crime noir novels of the 40s and 50s. Set in Philadelphia in the years shortly following the Great Depression, the reader is treated to a host of unsavory characters, unprincipled and corrupt politicians and an honest (if conflicted) driven assistant district attorney. Tom Rossi, first assistant district attorney, has his work cut out for him as one of the biggest and most complicated crime rings unfolds before him. Giorgio DiSipio’s tailor shop on Passyunk Avenue is the hub for activity that ranges from the obvious to drug dealing and illicit rendezvous with unhappy women willing to do anything to rid themselves of the husbands they no longer want. Giorgio is more than willing to help the wives – for a price. Aided by a bevy of besotted wives and unscrupulous undertakers, Giorgio is eventually tripped up by a forceful mother-in-law who demands an autopsy after he son's death, allegedly from complications of pneumonia. “His gutter snipe of a wife was cheating on my Reggie. I know. I caught the scheming drug addict red-handed in a bath tub with a guy.” Rossi navigates his way through the layers of mysterious circumstances and the web of lies as one after the other the characters begin to turn on each other. As the pieces come together, Rossi must also move forward in the face of the lies and threats of corrupt Deputy Mayor Evans – a man intent on stopping the investigation for his own reasons and destroying Rossi as well – and the disintegration of his relationship with the lovely and arresting nurse, Hope, who has dark secrets of her own. Gus Pelagatti, a seasoned litigation attorney, has crafted this sordid and fascinating story in a page turner of a mystery that holds interest and truly surprises clear to the satisfying end.
timcarmom More than 1 year ago
The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti is a suspenseful crime novel, which is based on a true story. The story takes place in the Depression era in Philadelphia. It is about 17 wives who scheme with a tailor, Giorgio, to poison their husbands and cash in on the insurance policies that they have taken out on them. Some of the wives include a society lady, Lillian, a gambler, Eva and a woman who is blinded by love, Joanna among many others. They all fall for Giorgio (the Don Juan of Passyunck Avenue) who convinces the women to take out the insurance policies, most times with someone else posing as their husbands. He then helps them poison the husbands in exchange for a cut of the policy. The assistant district attorney, Tom Rossi, figures out that the women are killing their husbands and they are arrested and sent to trial. This book reminds me of James Patterson's novels. The Wicked Wives is a real page turner, I could not put it down. The fact that this is based on a true story was fascinating to me and I was curious to look up the real history of the poison gang from Philadelphia. This is a very quick, easy to read book and the characters were all interesting. At the beginning, I did notice that there was one discrepancy with how Bill Evans was related to Lillian. At one point it was referenced that Evans was her dead husbands uncle when I believe he was actually her uncle. Knowing that, the love scenes between them were a little unnerving. There is a surprise ending to the book that made my jaw drop open. I did not suspect this part until about a few pages before it was revealed, which was a great twist. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves suspenseful crime novels. This book would make a great beach book or vacation book. It was one that I couldn't wait to find the time to continue reading, I loved it!
GINAGINA24 More than 1 year ago
The Wicked Wives, by Gus Pelagatti is an exciting and suspenseful crime novel based on real events. This book is set in the depression era, when people were desperate to do anything for any money. The money hungry characters in this book are three unhappy wives, Lillian, Eva, and Joanna who have fallen in lust with a sex-crazed gangster, Giorgio , who will lead them to kill their husbands for the insurance money. All Girogio wants is a little cut from their insurance policy, but no one was expecting the District Attoreny's involvement and be accused of their crimes. Once they go to trial, will the ladies be able to keep their stories straight? This is an easy book to read - once you start reading it is almost impossible to put down. So many questions will race through your mind, will the ladies loose there cool when questioned by the district attorney? Deceit, corruption, lust, and conspiracy will have you wanting more once the book is over. The characters are so well developed as well as this time period you will feel as if you are there with them. I would give this book 5 stars, a book I will read time and again!
Humbee More than 1 year ago
"The Wicked Wives" is a book that reads as fluently and fascinatingly as a story about the New Jersey Housewives on a murderous roll! Pelagatti has a keen eye and sense of psychology as he delves into the personalities and characters of the women involved in this true crime put to a novel. While we can't help feeling sympathy for them, these wives are blood thirsty and greedy during a time when the better road would have been loyalty and love for their husbands. Gus shines a light on the human spirit's darkest side, and sets a warning for those who would think that "crime pays!" This is a novel that will keep you up all night! I loved it and highly recommend it for those who love to sink their teeth into true crime at its best. It's running an average of 4.5 rating on Amazon at the moment...mostly 5 stars. You won't regret purchasing it!
bluejellybean More than 1 year ago
Based on a true story of murder and betrayal, a number of wives are the focus of Gus Pelagatti's book, The Wicked Wives. Set in Philadelphia in the 1930's, the characters are living through the depression era when money was scarce, and they were desperate to do what needed to be done to experience the lifestyles of their choice. Each of the 17 women involved in the murder of their husbands have a different story to tell, but their complicated and twisted crimes involved one man, the conspirator, Giorgia DiSipio. Thinking he was the only one for them, the women appear intellectual yet naive to this unbelievable man. They take on crimes that are well-planned with the goal of acquiring one thing - insurance money. As the story unfolds through twists and turns, the reader is faced with questions on how the death occurred, how the next one will happen, and what are the motives behind them. Will the truth be recognized? The author writes with a style that is easy to follow and conversation that allows the true colour of the characters to shine through. The reader is almost forced to stop and realize that the often juicy and intriguing content is based on the true affairs of these women. Besides murder, activities such as interactions with mobs and politics are introduced. Pelagatti seems well informed with the ins and outs of the investigations that occur, which brings to light the corruption that was possible at that time. As such, it has the ability to keep the reader engaged and reading straight through to the end.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
What drew me to this book was the title and the fact that it is based on a true story. It takes place in the late 1930's and early 1940's, and is set in Philadelphia PA. Unbelievably 17 woman have murdered or had someone else do it, their husbands. There are other individuals who also pay with their lives. The mastermind is Giorgio DiSipio, a Rudolph Valintino look alike, womanizer. He seems to have women falling for him all over the place...and then helps them do in their husbands. The main They are doing insurance fraud. Some actually do get away with it!! The Assistant D.A. Tom Rossi, helps uncover the plots, and takes up the case of bring justice. He fights and up hill battle, and encounters some defeat. The story has a lot of twists and turns, and some really big surprises. My main criticism is there is way to much graphic sex. The story itself is well written, and you keep turning the pages for more information. If you like reading stories based on fact this is a must read. I received this book from Pump Your Book Publicity Tour and the Author Gus Pelagatti
HarrietE More than 1 year ago
I generally like to take my time when reading a good book. However, that went out of the window once I started Gustine J. Pelagatti's crime/suspense novel The Wicked Wives. It began in a commanding fashion, wasting no time in getting to the premise of the book. The novel tells the tales of multiple females, predominantly Lillian, Eva, and Joanna, three unhappy women sick of their marriages and convinced by the womanizing, scheming Giorgio to end them (via murder) to gain insurance money. The book also displays potential District Attorney Tom Rossi intent on bringing the truth of the "accidental death" of Lillian's husband to light, and the many obstacles (i.e. the arrogant deputy mayor Bill Evans) in the way. Rossi's uncompromising stance and relentless approach on managing the investigation leads him to the bigger, more sinister discovery of a growing number of murders, and challenges his life and his girlfriend's, Hope Daniels. The novel reminds me of the TV show Desperate Housewives and the play Chicago, and is actually based on a true story/true events. I like how it is set in the Great Depression era, and gives a good portrayal of the time period and setting through the language, expectations from society, and behavior. The novel does a great job interjecting race, corruption, and gender inequality/gender roles. Pelagatti gives a fitting characterization of each widow and gives them distinct personalities. I found the novel even more absorbing as the grand web of lies, connections, and deceit unraveled, with Rossi and his crew on their trail. I was uncomfortable with how the novel would sometimes shift to adult subjects and language without warning, but still found it to be quite engaging. The ending was spectacular-completely unexpected but superb. Pelagatti crafted an entertaining piece, one I would recommend to those who enjoy suspenseful novels heavy on intrigue, drama, murder, and lust.
StayPositiveKV More than 1 year ago
I have to hand it to Gus Pelagatti, The Wicked Wives was totally awesome. There isn't a book out there, that could out do this story. When Tom started arresting everyone and the questioning started I felt I was right along side of Tom Rossi. I could feel the stares, the anger, the betrayal and the punch Howard received. I really like the fact that the author brought in the research on the poisons. Many authors just glide over certain facts, but the detail that was explained, just made me realize that these little facts made the story so much better. Once he got started, everything fell right into place. I just loved the characters, they seemed like your everyday run of the mill neighbors, until it was time for one of them to die. The tailor just cracked me up, he thought he was the ladies man. I was like "really" they can look through the front door and see exactly what you were doing, you have "no shame". The sex, just brought this story to another level. The thought that those women fell for that tailor was hilarious. One of the exciting things for me is that I went and got a picture of Cesar Romero, I just had to know what he looked like. After a couple of pictures and then the characters actually came to life, I had such a vivid imagination that the story was alive in my mind. I could tell by the way the story was written that Gus Pelagatti, put a lot of thought into this book, there was so much emotion that it kept you in an emotional whirlwind until the very end. I am really hoping that Gus Pelagatti, has a sequel to this book.