Lucky Luciano and the Night of the Sicilian Vespers
Gary interviews well known true crime author Nate Hendley about Charles “Lucky” Luciano and how he recruited other young gangsters to kill the old Mustache Petes and created the modern National Crime Syndicate. Francis Ford Coppola used this scenario in his fictional recounting of these events in The Godfather. Many people have mythologized these events and distilled them down to a single night where teams of young mafia assassins spread across New York and New Jersey murdering all the Black Hand Mustache Petes to seize control of organized crime organizations. We learn that this was actually a two-part operation in that Lucky Luciano first made a secret deal with a rival boss named Sal Maranzano, to kill his boss, “Joe the Boss” Masseria. In return, he would become Maranzano’s second-in-command. On April 15, 1931, Luciano met Joe the Boss Masseria at a restaurant called Nuova Villa Tammaro on Coney Island. After dinner, the men played cards and Luciano excused himself to the bathroom. Several gunmen entered the joint and murdered Joe the Boss. Supposedly the killers were Albert Anastasia, Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. After a short time as the second in command, Luciano realized the younger mobsters needed to kill off the final ruling Mustache Pete who was still an old Black Hand member, his new boss Sal Maranzano. On September 10, 1931, several Jewish gangsters disguised as government agents entered Maranzano’s office. They stabbed the old boss multiple times before administering a coup de grace with a gun. In an often-repeated fable, they moved on to other Sicilian bosses that same night, and this would become known as the “Night of the Sicilian Vespers” Gary and Nate discuss the origins and sources for this often-repeated story. They agree that Maranzano created the first Five Families in New York and after Lucky Luciano murdered him and took over, he created the National Crime Commission and the modern-day mafia organization in the United States.
Nate Hendley True Crime Author
Nate Hendley has written over a dozen books, primarily in the true-crime genre.
This book is about 14-year old Ron Moffatt of Toronto, who was wrongly convicted of murdering a child in 1956. The real offender was notorious serial killer Peter Woodcock.
“Hendley tells this important and disturbing story with objectivity and restraint, letting the facts speak for themselves as the reader’s sense of outrage builds. Moffatt has never received an apology for his mistreatment, let alone monetary compensation for an ordeal that derailed his life for years. Worst of all, his arrest meant Peter Woodcock remained at large long enough to kill again.”—Dean Jobb, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, April 2020
“The Boy on the Bicycle is an exceptional read and serves as a unique time capsule of the times and mores of post-WWII Toronto when murders were rare and sexual predators were practically unheard of … It was Mr. Hendley’s wish to finally tell Ron’s story after these many years, which he has done in a direct, yet compassionate manner. Five stars!” —The Miramichi Reader
“The amazing story of a 62-year-old wrongful conviction is revealed in a riveting new book, The Boy on the Bicycle, by Nate Hendley, a seasoned true-crime writer and former Ontario regional director with the Professional Writers Association of Canada.” —Sootoday.com
“Hendley’s telling of the tale is crisp and clear with compassion for all of the victims, both the murdered children and the man who spent a year of his youth behind bars, blemished for life by another man’s crimes … I highly recommend this book to all lovers of the true-crime genre.” —Donna Carrick, Host, Dead to Writes podcast, August 25, 2018
“Intriguing, immediately engaging, often disturbing and filled with fascinating facts, The Boy on the Bicycle transports you to a different era. Life in the 1950’s in ‘Toronto the Good’ wasn’t kind to everyone. The Boy on the Bicycle is written with such vivid attention to detail that this story of injustice and human cruelty will live in your mind long after you’ve read it … This is true crime at its finest.” —Lisa de Nikolits, author of No Fury Like That and other mystery novels.
The Boy on the Bicycle was nominated for an Arthur Ellis crime-writing award on April 17, 2019.
Click here for The Miramichi Reader’s review of The Boy on the Bicycle, posted July 21, 2018.
Reviews of my book, The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History:
“The Big Con is very authoritative, making it a great reference book to have for those who enjoy reading true crime, crime fiction, or who are born skeptics and get a certain ‘kick’ out reading how easily people can be fooled … Very readable. Mr. Hendley has done skeptics a genuine courtesy by assembling the history of frauds, cons, scams and hoaxes into one beautiful volume.” —The Miramichi Reader
“Serious students and general readers alike will marvel at fraudsters’ ingenuity and cringe at human gullibility (sometimes fed by greed). Consider for all public libraries.” —Library Journal
“[A] good overview and resource for public and academic libraries at all levels of beginning students. Summing up: Recommended. High school, community college and undergraduate students; general readers.” —Choice magazine, Association of College & Research Libraries
“Canadian true crime author Nate Hendley has scoured the history books and the Internet to compile this ‘greatest hits’ collection of the clever ploys and outrageous exploits of con artists.” —Dean Jobb, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
Reviews of my book, The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture:
“This volume is well-researched and eminently readable.” —Booklist
“Entertaining and informative.” —American Reference Books Annual (ARBA)
Reviews of my book, American Gangsters: Then and Now:
“…perfect for general audiences…Recommended for public libraries.” —Library Journal
“The writing in this compendium blazes with the glow of crime novels and gangbuster series while delivering loads of fascinating and gory details on American organized crime. . . . This quality work, which comes with full-text online access, fills a niche.” —School Library Journal
“The book is designed…for academic research on the background and life of gangster organizations.” —Library Media Connection
Black Donnellys: The Outrageous Tale of Canada’s Deadliest Feud
Black Donnellys: The Outrageous Tale of Canada’s Deadliest Feud can be purchased directly from publisher, Lorimer.
Three of my books, Al Capone: Chicago’s King of Crime, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of the Bronx and Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice, are now available as audio-books.
Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice is narrated by Douglas James, formerly with CBC, CNN and other international news agencies. The audio production runs two hours and 47 minutes and can be purchased at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.
To rent Brothers against Brothers, the documentary, click here.
To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here
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