Sunday, 9 June 2013

Queenpin by Megan Abbot

Imagine Cora, the femme fatale, narrating the story of The Postman always rings twice! Telling us how she met Papadakis, what happened with Frank and why she did what she had to do! Don't worry,  this is not the reworking of the The Postman Always Rings Twice from Cora's angle. But the classic noir from the female angle.

Seeing the cover and the opening, I thought the narrator is a young man. Before long I knew, the narrator is a young woman who finds the job as an accountant at a betting centre who when her immediate bosses ask her to cook up the books, has no qualms about it. We are introduced to the powerful and enigmatic  femme fatale Gloria Fenton who takes our girl into her hands and shows her the ropes. Our girl becomes a regular at the Casinos, racing tracks and is a runner for smuggled cigarettes, booze and precious stones.

All's well until she meets the charmer and loser Vic who believes that luck will turn and he has cracked how the system works and it won't be long before the big day. We do know that Vic is going to be the fall of our girl. Here is an interesting role reversal from the classic noir where the man is set to fall because of his fatal attraction to the woman, here our girl knows what Vic is but is unable to stop herself and reason. Vic is in trouble with a gangster because of his debts and needs her help. What are they going to do and how are they going to do it? Has our little girl learned enough to fool Gloria to get away with a substantial amount? Can she beat the Queenpin in her own game?

At about 170 pages, Queenpin is a captivating read with twists and turns and casual double crossings, set in the mid-sixties with a narrative that hooks from the start. I didn't realise almost until the end that our girl has no name. Interesting take on the classic noir. 


col2910 said...

I have this on my mountainous TBR pile, one of these years I will get around to reading it, I hope!

srivalli said...

It is a short book and can be read in a couple of hours, that is, if you get around starting it! Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!