SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (April 10, 2018) -- Saratoga Springs native Joe Cutshall-King will discuss his historical mystery novel, The Burning of the Piping Rock, Monday, April 23 at 11 a.m. at The Summit at Saratoga, 1 Perry Road, Saratoga Springs.
Built on a foundation of historical events, the book tells the story of The Piping Rock, a mafia-controlled nightclub and casino formerly located at the corner of Union Avenue and Gilbert Road, which closed following the United States Senate Kefauver Commission hearings on organized crime in the early 1950s. On Aug. 16, 1954, The Piping Rock burned to the ground. The casino was uninsured at the time of the arson.
"I plan to discuss the `real history' of Saratoga Springs that provides the background of the novel and its central theme, the unsolved arson of Piping Rock Casino," said Cutshall-King, who lives in Cossayuna, N.Y. "I will talk about Saratoga during the time of its illegal casinos, as well as the mob and crooked politicians who made them possible."
Cutshall-King said the novel came about because of his father's involvement with the political machine that "greased the gears" for the mob in the years following World War II. "We were living in Saratoga at the time and my father, a pharmacist, was working for James Leary, owner of MacFinn's Drugstore, an attorney, the head of the Republican machine, and as big a crook as his dear friend, mobster Meyer Lansky," he said. "I'll explain my father's involvement in all that and how it led to my creation of the novel."
Cutshall-King, whose writing draws on his varied work experiences ranging from a Wall Street brokerage firm to college administration, has written several books of regional history, including Hospital By the Falls; Con Amore-the Italian History of Fort Edward, N.Y.; and Cornerstone of the Future. Most recently, he wrote the introductory essay for the book Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard's Lake George, published by the Chapman Historical Museum. For 19 years, he also penned a weekly column on local history for The Post-Star in Glens Falls.
Copies of the book will be available for sale.