Lucky Stiff

Cover image for


Author: Craig Rice (Georgiana Ann Randolph Craig)
Published: 1945
Language: English
Wordcount: 73,464 / 209 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.1
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 3,111
Added to site: 2008.12.27 22997

Dead Girls Have More Fun

The reporter at her trial wrote: "Anna Marie St. Clair, convicted murderess of Big Joe Childers, seemed like a woman carved out of stone."

A sentence of death by electrocution will do that to a murderess. The problem was, Anna had not, in fact, killed her lover. She'd been cruelly framed.

Then, at the eleventh hour, the true murderer confesses. Anna becomes a free woman. A free woman with a frightening plan. She blackmails the authorities into reporting her execution. Now the world at large, including those who had sent her up, thinks she fried.

Anna's next step is to seek out gin-soaked, falling-in-love lawyer J. J. Malone. And with his exuberant approval, Anna sets out on a devilish trail of haunting revenge.

Show Excerpt

shoulders. And under the table there were those long, slender, beautiful legs.

This was their wedding anniversary. He couldn't even remember which one. It didn't really matter. All that mattered was the waking up every morning and seeing her long, silky hair spread out on the pillow, and her face, childlike in sleep, nestled in her arm. Coffee in the sunroom in the morning, Helene in her violet chiffon negligee, or her fluffy white robe, or her bandanna sunsuit, or, on special occasions, the blue satin house pajamas she'd been wearing the first time they met.

"Helene," he said, "every time I look at you I feel as if someone had just given my heart a hot-foot."

Her eyes warmed. "Darling," she whispered, "I didn't know you were a poet!" This time her hand reached out for his, and it wasn't icy cold.

Jake Justus, ex-reporter, ex-press agent, and, as he occasionally reminded himself, definitely ex-amateur detective, sighed again. Happily, this time. That unpleasant knot of anxiety in h


Average Rating of 4.3 from 4 reviews: *****

The best read I've had in months. Woman narrowly avoids death penalty but lets everyone think she was executed. The better to scare (to death) her accusers. Dark and twisted but balanced with wry humor.

"Delighted to meet you," Jake said. "Have a drink?"

"Thank you," she said. "I don't drink."

"Suit yourself," Jake said. "Do you smoke, swear,
spit, or what do you do?"

The gals are as hard-drinking and tough as the guys. Quite a trip. And find out why our poor hero, Malone, has to keep returning negligees.

Diane Gaye

Very good crime story.


Enjoyable, if a bit stilted. J.J. Malone is entertaining, and the other noir characters suit the story.

Leah A. Zeldes

One of her best: Jake and Helene Justus and J.J. Malone tackle the murder of a Chicago mobster and the framing of his mistress in a captivating story full of colorful characters, including assorted crooks, a police captain with an odd idea of psychology, an Italian undertaker and beautiful ghost. It keeps you guessing all the way through.

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