Friday, May 28, 2010
"Long, long and lonely nights, I cried my heart out over you." Song lyrics
Things were swinging in London in the 60s.
This is the story of Harry Starks, a gangster and club owner, who is also gay.
As the story unfolds, he meets a young man named Terry. Terry narrates how he was won over by Harry's assertiveness and generosity. Soon after meeting, Harry asks Terry to move in with him as his lover.
Harry has a reputation as a mobster and has a following. Not only does he own a nightclub himself, he brings his entourage to other clubs and mingles with celebrities.
Terry learns about "the long firm" from another of Harry's cronies. "The long firm" is a scheme that gangsters impose on the innocent. They obtain the name of a deceased person and create various documents, register a business under that person's name, deposit some cash into an account in order to build up credit. After that, they build up an inventory, delay payment of the bills, then withdraw the money from the business account, have a fire sale and disappear. The business is registered to a dead man so the gang gets away with the scheme.
Another of Harry's traits is that he has a strong sense of loyalty but when crossed, he can be cruel. This is something Terry finds out first hand when he tries to hide some money from one of Harry's schemes.
The story continues as Harry wins favor of a member of parliament and uses him to further his con games, this develops into an international scope when they meet John Ogungbe from Gambia and attempt to set up a con by using him.
The story is a light hearted romp through the British mob scene. Harry is a chameleon; he's generous but dangerous when crossed, most of the time he's in good spirits, but when crossed, he can be deadly as a poisonous snake.