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January 31 , 2011

The Stand-Up Guy


The Berkley Building Company's office closes on week-ends. So when Rose Shapiro arrives for work on Monday morning June 20, 1966, she has to unlock the door to gain entry. She finds her boss, Max Robbins-dead-the apparent victim of a heart attack.

At the funeral home because bruises are found on Max's body, the Medical Examiner performs an autopsy. He opines that Max did die of a heart attack, but one caused by powerful blows to his solar plexus.

So who killed Max? Crude, black-sheep son of real estate mogul, Sam Robbins, Max wasn't short of enemies. The police discover evidence that David Lev, Max's boyhood friend and lawyer was the last person to see Max alive.

David, normally unflappable, borders on panic. He turns for help to his ex-mobster cousin, Jack Lerner, once head of Detroit's infamous Purple Gang, whose criminal activities teenaged David abhorred and which embarrassed him. With input from Chick Marcus, another childhood friend of David and Max, Jack makes the problem go away. Max's killer is never discovered.

Thirty-eight years later, Chick, only survivor of the trio, eighty and frail, but with perfect recall tells us who killed Max and why.

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