Queenpins: The Notorious Lives and Times of Legendary Women Gangsters
The cut throat world of organized crime has long been dominated by men, and such macho godfathers and kingpins as Al Capone, John Dillinger, Pablo Escobar and John Gotti have become legendary. Yet, dig deep into the annals of crime and one can find smart, ambitious and ruthless women who have cracked the glass ceiling of the underworld and became notorious in their own right. Little has been written about these queenpins; that is, until now. For the first time, noted crime writer Ron Chepesiuk profiles the major queenpins of modern times and how they not only survived but thrived in gangland. Queenpins: The Lives and Times of Notorious Women Gangsters provides a fresh look at life in the highest echelons of the criminal world. Some of these queenpins have become well-known, thanks to Hollywood and the ubiquitous media. Others are not so well known. Many rose and fell in the world of drug trafficking. Others achieved notoriety as madams, bank robbers, bootleggers, and gambling. Several operated in the U.S., but there are queenpins in China, Colombia, Mexico, Australia, Italy and even India whose stories are chronicled.Queenpins offers an engrossing look at crime history. You will discover Stephanie St. Clair, who got rich in the numbers game and then became a legend when she stood up to mobster Dutch Shultz, who wanted to put her out of business. In the 1920s, Gertrude Lythgoe was known as the “Queen of the Bahamas” for her bootlegging exploits. Gertrude’s nickname was “Cleo” because people thought her exotic looks made her a dead ringer for Queen Cleopatra. Kathryn Kelly was the master of public relations and marketing who turned her unambitious husband, Machine Gun Kelly, into one the FBI’s most targeted criminals. Griselda Blanco, the so-called Black Widow, taught infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar the tricks of the cocaine trade and sparked a crime wave in Miami that left hundreds dead. Xie Caiping, the Mama San of Chinese crime, led a shocking life of decadence, excess and sexual depravity while dominating the Shanghai underworld. Sandra Beltran Avila, the Queen of the Pacific, was beautiful and vain, but she skillfully used her assets to build powerful alliances between Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, an accomplishment that fueled the Latin American drug trade.The stories of these queenpins need to be told; their place in crime history, documented. Chepesiuk’s research reveals the important role that women have played and can play in organized crime.