Historian and writer Selden Richardson (author of Built by Blacks, a must-have for understanding Richmond) ably chronicles the careers of gangsters Robert Mais and Walter Legenza in The Tri-State Gang in Richmond, another one of the History Press’ recent raft of Richmond titles (including a couple by me). In 1935, Mais and Legenza's crime spree came to a gory conclusion here.
Their sensational story was used as the basis for crime fiction, comic books, movies and television crime dramas, including The Untouchables. The facts and locale often shifted, but the names usually remained the same.
I was quite pleased to learn that Richardson chose to assay this subject, as it’s been of interest for some time, something I intended eventually to “get around to.” Well, he went ahead and did it, and the result is excellent. If you like your crime drama in suits and hats, with molls and nicknames like Dick Tracy villains, here’s one for you.
Richardson will be speaking about his book at the VCU James Branch Cabell Library on June 20 at 3 p.m.; on June 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Fountain Books; on July 11 at 5:30 p.m., as part of the “Books on Broad” series at the Library of Virginia; and from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Chesterfield Towne Center Barnes & Noble on July 14.
Speaking of Barnes & Noble and other books, this time volumes with which I have no connection, a literary trifecta of readings is coming up at the Libbie Place branch on Saturday, June 30.
in Death by Petticoat, Mary Miley Theobald presents a kind of historical version of MythBusters, exploding dearly held fictions thought to be true. She speaks at 11 a.m., with a signing to follow.
David E. Johnson brings his biography, John Randolph of Roanoke, about one of the nation’s strangest and most intriguing politicians of the 19th century, whose never-say-die advocacy of the rights of states over the federal government has resonance today. Randolph strode into Congress in spurs, holding a whip, and stayed there for 30 years. Johnson will be at the bookstore from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
H. Edward "Chip" Mann, just in time for the Diamond Jubilee hoopla, brings his The Queen and the USA, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Get into your summer reading.