Portrayed by Christopher Walken in Kill the Irishman, now Shondor Birns has his own book. Alex “Shondor” Birns was a notorious Jewish mobster once known as Public Enemy Number One. Through the turbulent sixties, he controlled a primarily black gambling empire. And at his side was Ellie, the young schoolteacher turned mob moll.
Targeted Age Group:: 18 and over
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
For me, Shondor Birns was another colorful underworld character similar to Danny Greene, subject of the motion picture Kill the Irishman, based on my book To Kill the Irishman. Shondor's involvement in organized crime spanned decades and involved a diverse assortment of associates, Jewish mobsters, the Italian-American Mafia, black gambling racketeers, and a strong female companion. I'm hoping this story will also be adapted for film.
That evening, Shondor and Ellie, his schoolteacher girlfriend, arrived at Kandrac’s, a steakhouse across from a suburban police station. Shondor and Ellie walked in the front door, and he turned right and led Ellie into the bar room. He preferred that section to the roomier and carpeted dining area to the left.
During Birns’s first visit to the restaurant six weeks earlier, he had introduced himself to owners Frances and Ed Kandrac. Shondor liked the atmosphere and the food. Soon he was dining there twice weekly, often with Ellie.
Numerous customers waved hello to Shon. A few approached and shook hands and a couple of them also greeted Ellie. The waitress perked up. Serving Mr. Birns guaranteed an overly generous tip.
Shon selected a booth at the end of the bar, near the jukebox. Ellie sat and got comfortable while he remained standing and bought a round of drinks for his acquaintances. While standing between the bar and the booth where Ellie remained seated, Shon chatted for several minutes then joined Ellie. It was a Wednesday evening, and they were the last dinner customers. Frances Kandrac took their orders. She returned with salads rather quickly.
“Don’t rush me,” Shon told her pleasantly. “I want to have a couple of drinks before I eat. After I eat, I don’t drink.”
Shon ordered a Scotch. Sinatra, Elvis, and 1940s dance band hits played on the jukebox. Shon alternated between sitting with Ellie and standing by the bar until their entrees arrived. She had whitefish. He had frog legs, which Frances noticed as a departure from his favorites of veal cutlet or lobster tail.
Meanwhile, at the Gold residence, the children were in bed. Mervin and Lily were watching 77 Sunset Strip, a television series about a private detective. Mervin started dressing to leave.
“Where are you going?” Lily asked.
“I want to see Shon,” he said.
“Why so late?”
“He’s having dinner with someone. He said he would be home by nine thirty, but I’m giving him a half hour more.”
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