Jimmy Quinn and Walter Spencer bootlegged booze and stole cars for New York gangsters in the 1920s. Jimmy "retired" to open a speakeasy. Spence married the beautiful Flora Pennyweight, of Pennyweight Petroleum and moved into the family's New Jersey mansion.
In March, 1932, when the Lindbergh baby is kidnapped, Spence asks Jimmy to guard his wife and new son while he flies off in the company Tri-Motor to tend to new oil wells in Louisiana. Flora is sure their son is the kidnappers' next victim. Jimmy reluctantly agrees. At the same time he has to deal with two Connies-Connie Halloran who should be waiting in his room at the Chelsea Hotel but has gone missing, and Connie Nix, the pretty maid at the Pennyweight mansion.
The 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping provides the backdrop for film expert Mayo's gritty first novel. Jimmy Quinn, who has a long record on the wrong side of the law, admits, "I've been a thief, a bootlegger, a bagman.... I was in on the fix of a World Series." After the abduction of the aviator's son, an old friend of Quinn's, Walter Spencer who's gone straight summons Quinn to his New Jersey home. Spencer's wife is frantic that their little Ethan will be the next child snatched. Since Spencer has some imminent out-of-state business travel, Quinn agrees to keep Ethan safe and secure. Another attempt to kidnap a child and the nailing of a man to a tree raise the ante. Mayo (American Murder: Criminals, Crime, and the Media) persuasively portrays such real-life mobsters as Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano in a tale sure to appeal to fans of Max Allan Collins's gangster historicals.