Do the Hustle

29 Feb Do the Hustle

Hey, this is so cool! While exploring author, Will Ferguson’s website (check it out: I saw this very sexy and intriguing UK cover for his novel, Spanish Fly.

Published by Penguin Canada as Spanish Fly, apparently the UK version was renamed by Random House. I have to say, I LOVE the cover! Very effective with the red background, black and white figures, sexy hoisting of the con-lady’s dress while the wary but intrigued man waits in the background for her next move. Love the fact he’s leaning on…nothing but air…sweet swindle. Or maybe it’s supposed to be a bar, but I like the idea it’s not…

It’s hard to believe, but we, the LOL, are nearing completion of this novel. Having begun Part 3, Cats and Rats, I’m enjoying the way Ferguson plays characters’ opposite traits against one another; the way he contrasts the good and bad in each of them.

Take Virgil, by far the most charismatic character. I do admire Jack and I’m waiting patiently to see how his sense of morality may kick in and overtake his desire to, well…profit from the take. Clearly Jack contemplates each scam, being the brains of the operation, he entirely analyzes it, deduces the ins and outs and understands it, but always notes the injustice in it. While Virgil insists they are not “robbing” people when those folks have willingly handed over their money, Jack continues to refer to the swindlers’ profits as stealing. Jack seems almost saddened at the naivety–or maybe simplicity–of the gullible folks whose hard-earned money he’s stockpiling in a tin.

But back to Virgil. While he sees no shame in stealing, he draws the line at robbing “coloured folks.”  Early in Chapter Forty-Two, Jack asks, “When we’re on the grift. Why don’t we ever run swindles on coloured folk? They have shops and stores and no shortage of dupes, I imagine, just like anywhere else.”

After refusing to pull a till exchange on a coloured man, Virgil says, “The man had enough of a hill to climb. Don’t need us adding to it.”

That bit got me wondering about the lives of African Americans during the Great Depression. If surviving posed a challenge to hundreds of thousands of white people, how much more difficult was it if you were black and segregated?

I found an interesting site, in which a researcher appears to be calling for input on the very topic. The site suggests, despite the dismal state of affairs for most blacks, a paradox existed as some blacks rose well above the regular ranks, earning university degrees, becoming famous musicians and singers, scholars, and scientists.

Interested? Here’s the

Today I’m off to Dr. Knox Middle School to present life as a writer at career fair. Maybe I’ll have to blog about it on Free-For-All-Friday.