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Interview: Gus Pelagatti, Author of The Wicked Wives

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Gus Pelagatti has over 47 years’ experience practicing trial law and trying civil and criminal cases, including homicide. He has a standard of excellence as a trial expert which allows him to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum. The Wicked Wives is the culmination of years spent 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.

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

The Wicked Wives tells the story of Philadelphia’s infamous poison scandal of 1838. Seventeen wives and a like number of male co-conspirators were arrested for poisoning husbands for insurance money. The male gang members would seduce a lonely wife, encourage her to insure their husbands and then teach them how to murder without arousing suspicion.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

Our family had a row house in South Philadelphia located within two blocks of the main gang leader’s tailor shop and in close proximity to some of the guilty wives. I used to eavesdrop on adult conversation. My mother referred to the women as The Wicked Wives.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

(Page 79) Eva unhooked her brand gave him a wink. Michael wasted no time in burying his face between her breasts. He feverishly licked at her nipples. “Bella putana.” he said. “Bella putana”

She giggled. “Relax, baby doll. This doesn’t have to be your last supper.”

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I try to get as many top reviewers as possible to read the book.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I write in late afternoon for a few hours. On weekends I write four hours a day.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Watching athletic events and movies.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?


What author would you most like to meet and why?

The late Harold Robbins. He wrote some grand novels such as The Carpetbaggers and introduced interesting sex as part of his plots..

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

I’m presently writing the sequel to The Wicked Wives, a book entitled Benito’s Gold.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I’ll be 74 year old in October, 2012.

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