REVIEW: When Pigs Fly by DeAnna Knippling
A novelette of swindlers, dames, and a millionaire with a pig.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1925. Right before New Year’s Day.
Genevra Valentine is a roper, someone who brings in marks for a team of con artists working in the basement of a soda fountain-come-speakeasy. The mark she just brought in has a story she can’t believe: he’s a millionaire cattleman from Chicago who wants to race his famous racing pig, Zeus, against the fastest runner anyone can produce.
It sounds like a con. And she should know.
But the chance to fleece a millionaire isn’t something that Genevra or her boss can pass up.
Dear Ms. Knippling,
I will admit that I couldn’t resist either this title or this cover. The blurb was almost icing on the cake of everything else. A 1920s flapper con artist and a racing pig?
Since this is a short story (described on the cover as a novelette) every word counts and they are used judiciously here. There is no fat, only lean muscle that says what is needed precisely and economically. Anyone who has seen the movie “The Sting” will know the usual type of con that Genevra helps pull in marks for but while she is sure that what she’s getting involved with is somehow crooked, even she isn’t sure exactly what is going to happen. That is if anything ever gets to happen what with the cops being tipped off and continuously raiding everything. With two teams working the city, the local cops have gotten used to easy money and it’s hard to get the buy-off to stick.
But what happens is almost as funny as it is tense – really, the descriptions and actions of Zeus the pig are worth the price alone – and it’s not just the local coppers in on this one.
It’s not a romance, it’s not cheap but I thoroughly enjoyed the story and getting to know Genevra, her millionaire and his pig. B+