BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

The Wicked Wives

by Gus Pelagatti

Genre: Crime

Book Description

“Wicked Wives” is based on the true story of the 1938 Philadelphia murder scandals in which seventeen wives were arrested for murdering their husbands. Mastermind conspirator Giorgio DiSipio, a stunning lothario and local tailor who preys upon disenchanted and unfaithful wives, convinces twelve of them to kill their spouses for insurance money. The murder conspiracy is very successful until one lone assistant D.A., Tom Rossi, uncovers the plot and brings the perpetrators to justice. “Wicked Wives” is a story made for Hollywood, combining murder, corruption, treachery, love, lust and phenomenal detail as it vividly captures Depression-era Philadelphia.


The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

The year is 1937, and the citizens of Philadelphia are, for the most part, still feeling the aftereffects of The Great Depression. But several of the city’s housewives are finding themselves suddenly flush. They are receiving payouts from their deceased husbands’ insurance policies–by stealthily killing them.

Helping the women commit these heinous deeds is the Italian-born Lothario, Giorgio DiSipio. As he seduces woman after woman, he convinces each to kill their hubbies–so he can profit from it, of course. Lots of bodies pile up until prosecutor Tom Rossi uncovers and tries to put a stop to this terrible crime ring.

The cover of this novel says it was based on a true story, so I’m not sure how many of the events in the book happened, and how much was dramatization. I still enjoyed the book.

What made this such an amusing read was the wide array of characters–each had their own distinct personality and were so entertaining. Eva Bell is a relentless flirt and hits on any man in her general vicinity. Lillian is a drama queen who plays everyone in her life. Giorgio has an insatiable sexual appetite and plays Italian opera music while he beds women on the sofa in the back of his tailor’s shop.

I fully relished seeing Tom Rossi dig in and investigate the case. Even though he was met with roadblocks at every turn, he always persisted, knowing the next big break was soon to come. Needless to say, society was very different at that time; threats were made and bad things happened in Tom’s private life as he made progress in the case.

The only issue I had while reading this book is that sometimes too many details and side stories were given. I would sometimes skip whole paragraphs because I didn’t feel what I was reading about was really relevant to the story as a whole.

I think the author did a phenomenal job with his research for this book. No matter if it was fact or fiction, it made for a compelling novel.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Gus Pelagatti is a practicing trial lawyer with over 47 years of experience trying civil and criminal cases including homicide.  He’s a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum, limited to attorneys who have been recognized as achieving a standard of excellence as a trial expert.  He has spent years researching the true story of the 1938 insurance scam murders, interviewing judges, lawyers, police and neighbors involved in the trials.

Gus was born and raised within blocks of the main conspirator’s tailor shop and the homes of many of the wives convicted of murdering their husbands.

His latest book is The Wicked Wives.

You can visit Gus’ website at

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About Carrie

A SAHM who loves her life :)

Posted on August 6, 2012, in book tour, books, challenge, Goodreads challenge, reading, review. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Wow, thank you for the wonderful review, Carrie!

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