The Big Caper

Author: Lionel White
Published: 1955
Language: English
Wordcount: 55,136 / 151 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 85.1
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,749
Added to site: 2007.04.13 16559

until he came to the last window on the north side of the room. The gold lettering on the sign said, "Miss Simpson."

Miss Simpson was the chief teller. Forty-six years old, thin to the point of emaciation, with a leathery, bony face hiding behind gold-rimmed glasses, Miss Simpson was an exceptionally competent person.

But for the accident of the Second World War, Mary Lou Simpson would probably never have been anything but a stenographer, or possibly a saleslady. But the war came along and the Ranchers and Fruit Growers Trust, like banks all over the country, suddenly became aware of an acute manpower shortage.

Miss Simpson had been hired and from the very first had proved to have an amazing adeptness for the work. Now, after a dozen years, she was an institution within an institution, and there was even talk of putting her on the board of directors someday.

It was only the second time that Frank had approached her window, but she remembered him at once. She greeted him with a thin


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Average Rating of 4.3 from 3 reviews: *****

Taut, engrossing tale of a career criminal who pulls together a disparate array of neer-do-wells for a major crime. As other reviewers have noted, this is a great character study, but the action is also good and, because it was written in 1957, the sexual discussions are a bit more frank than they were in pulp fiction several years earlier. A terrific read.


A great read. More of a character study than a crime caper. The story flows together seamlessly.

Waldo Gemio

White is one of the lesser-known noirists whose books were filmed by Kubrick and Godard ('Pierrot le Fou' was 'based on' 'Obsession') and were an influence on Tarantino. Despite the title, this is more of a character study, with a chilling portrayal of a cold-hearted manipulator called Flood and the men and women, good and bad, who follow his orders, however reluctantly. The attitudes to women are very much of its time (mid-fifties), i.e. three categories: good, bad, and married. There's humour, and violence, and a general sense of unease. Memorable pulp noir, a forgotten classic.

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