The Girl with the Long Green Heart by Lawrence Block


Cozy Mystery

The Girl With the Long Green Heart (Hard Case Crime) The Girl with the Long Green HeartLawrence Block; Hard Crime Case 2005WorldCat

 Johnny Hayden has been out of jail for 8 months and is determined to stay on the straight and out of jail. He was a con man – a grifter. After leaving San Quentin he moved to Boulder, Colorado. Now he works at a bowling alley and dreaming about the hotel he wants to purchase.

Doug Rance seeks him out. Doug is still in the game and is developing a long con tailored for a certain mark. Wallace Gunderman is a land speculator in New York state. Gunderman had done a woman wrong and Doug saw a way to get back at him for her. Doug wants to pull Johnny in and use John’s experience in the long con. If they do it right, Gunderman may not discovered he has been conned for many years, if ever.

They set up a business in Toronto and start working with a land deal in “Moose Country” in northwest Canada. The secretary helps them out. With the proper staging everything goes very well. Gunderman is pulled in and is enthusiastic for their deal. That is, until…

The Girl with the Long Green Heart was first published in 1965 and shows its age in little ways – costs of land, hotels, wages, etc., and lack of computers or modern technology. Other than that, this story is timeless and fun. If you enjoyed the Paul Newman and Robert Redford movie The Sting, you’ll enjoy this novel. It’s from Johnny’s perspective so the reader is rooting for the con men.

It’s witty and Lawrence Block keeps the reader’s interest. Part of it is predictable and I stayed with the story line yet the twists were more than I guessed. You’ll wonder all the way through to the final play (there’s gotta be one, I’m certain).

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