Tough on the Wops by Buck Toler


Tough on the Wops was released 1947 under Harold Ernest Kelly’s alias, Buck Toler, via his Robin Hood Press. After this novel, Buck Toler expired and Darcy Glinto once again took center stage, after having not been seen since the war years.

His earlier Buck Toler efforts included:

  • The Bronsville Massacre (Mitre Press, 1943)
  • It’s Only Saps That Die (Everybody’s Books, 1944)
  • Killer on the Run (Everybody’s Books, 1944)

Tough on the Wops would appear one further time, with a crudely constructed cover by Heade, showcasing a young lady holding a Thompson machine gun (a scene from the novel). Whether that edition was a reprint or remainder stock with the original ghastly cover by Hofbauer removed and the Heade attached to help move the rest, I won’t know until I obtain a copy. The scene featured on the Hofbauer cover illustrates the gunning down of Angelo….

Kelly introduces us to a series of hoodlums recently released from prison, with the goal of taking over Woptown, a fictional town heavily populated by Italians, but designed to represent a real American town. In charge is Lugs Heimer, and on one of their first outings, they strike against Angelo, a young man owning a prosperous restaurant. The shop is riddled with bullets and destroyed; more importantly, the polished mobster Fluther is forced to come along for the ride. Primarily, in the past, he is your clean-cut hoodlum, smooth-talker, etc, never gets his hands dirty. However, today, he is pushed into the fracas, and begins to enjoy the ruthlessness and destruction.

Days later, Fluther is sent to blackmail Angelo, whom in turn tells his fiance, Francesca, whom in turn, convinces Angelo to speak with the police. Fluther had warned Angelo about going to the police….

The police arrange for Angelo to wrap a wad of bills together and follow the hoodlum’s instructions to the letter. When the car drives by, a window will be down, a gun covering Angelo, and, he is to toss the bundle in the car. Unfortunately, they get wind that something is up when Angelo inexplicably steps into the street behind the car. This action would prevent them from shooting him down.

The police open fire but the car is heavily protected and the bullets fail to penetrate. The worst that occurs is the windshield stars-up and visibility is greatly reduced. Thinking he is safe, Angelo foolishly remains in the street, watching the fracas. From a secluded spot, Francesca watches everything, too. Then, the worst happens! She watches as Angelo crumples in a heap as another gangster car roars up and stitches him and the nearby police. The pair of cars make their getaway and Francesca weeps over her slain fiance.

Unable to take the emotional strain, she collapses and awakens in hospital, with her parents present. Once reality catches up to her, she becomes a hardened shell and is determined to exact retribution.

Unfortunately for the hoodlums, this is not the worst yet to come. For them, returning to base, they find that the wad of bills is nothing more than a wad of papers. They are all enraged, and worse yet, the docile Fluther mouths off to Heimer, whom takes it upon himself to beat the shit out of him. Fluther doesn’t fight like a man, and takes a wine bottle and begins carving up Heimer’s face, stabbing him repeatedly. Heimer finally collapses on the floor and Fluther has to be restrained. Fluther takes the gang under his wing, and being more intelligent than Heimer, constructs a series of successfully lucrative raids on Woptown, hitting banks, businesses, etc…

Francesca walks the streets nightly, and accidentally hits upon the territory of a local floozie, who isn’t taking it kindly that Francesca is walking her beat. They pair up and Francesca learns the area better, and where to hangout. Eventually, luck prevails and Fluther finds her attractive, and kidnaps her! Returning to the base, he locks her in a spare room upstairs, and has his way with her repeatedly (though Kelly is careful to make no actual allusions; he’d already been heavily prosecuted by the English government for his Darcy Glinto novels).

Francesca plays the floozie part, and eventually Fluther thinks she is sweet on him and okay with being locked up. She confesses to being turned-on by Fluther being a gangster, instead of a rich businessman, and guns really get her going. He shows her an empty Thompson, how to operate it, etc, and, leaves the empty machine gun in the room.

While away raiding a government train laden with money en route to the local banks, an ex-FBI agent has been performing his own investigations and is watching the hideout. When the gang depart, he kicks in the door and finds Francesca downstairs, sitting coolly on a couch, facing him, holding the Thompson. She confesses it is empty, so he calms down. They compare notes, but she does not tell him the entire truth of her circumstances. With his assistance, the Thompson is loaded and he leaves her to maintain the status quo while he rounds up the police for the final raid.

Francesca has other ideas….

The gang return, with some quarters-of-a-million dollars from the train heist. Everyone is partying hard, but Fluther has his murderous eyes on Heimer, whom he caught, on the heist, pointing his Thompson at Fluther’s back. Now, he figures the hour is ripe to kill Heimer, in front of everyone, and firmly establish himself as the leader. Heimer is accused, and goes for his armpit holster, but Fluther spits alcohol in his eyes, then beats him up and when he falls, pounces upon him and like a feral nightmare, begins ripping the flesh from Heimer’s neck and face with his bare teeth!

In walks Francesca.

She says nothing.

Just watches the scene.

Finally, one hoodlum after another begin to notice the gorgeous bombshell, calmly detached, wielding the death-dealer. And, it’s not only pointed at them, it’s fully loaded! Jaws dropping, they simply stare. Finally, the moment has come, and she hollers Fluther’s name twice; once she has obtained his attention, detaching his bloodied maw from the remnants of Heimer’s face, she informs those present who she really is and why they are about to die.

And, pulling back on the trigger, she sweeps the room from side to side twice. The last gangster in line, a quick-draw, manages to snap off some return-fire.

The ex-FBI agent and the police raid the building, only to find everyone dead. He kneels beside the girl, checks for a pulse. She’s dead cold, and praises her dead fiance as “the luckiest guy that ever did live.”

It’s a tough, hard-hitting gangster novel, heavily padded throughout, but an awful-good read, for the type of people out there that love this sort of thing.




Tough on the Wops by Buck Toler

“Road Floozie” by Darcy Glinto (1941)


I’ve been meaning to return to reading and reviewing books by Harold Ernest Kelly. Some years ago, I lucked into corresponding with a young lady that is related to the author, but, sadly, she has vanished without a trace. (If any other relatives see this, I’d love to carry on where Jayne left off)….

Now, let’s return to the blog.

Published in 1941 by Wells, Gardner & Co., this was one novel (among others) under the alias Darcy Glinto, that landed the author, Harold Ernest Kelly, a hefty fine from the English government. After his fines, Kelly abandoned the Glinto alias for five years, and began publishing stories under pseudonyms Buck Toler, Preston Yorke, Eugene Ascher and several others.

Let’s focus on the story itself, and note, that I am reading the TRUE FIRST EDITION.
IF anyone else has any of his other titles available, I would like to obtain them and read/review them for posterity, too….

Eilleen is sick and tired of working in a sweatshop. Further, she’s fed-up with the bitch supervisor, whom treats the workers like the slave labor that they are. The conditions are deplorable. The pay isn’t worth mentioning.

Eilleen bucks the owner of the business and gets into an all-out brawl with the bitch, and lands herself in jail. Earning her freedom from the cell, she bags her livelihood necessities and decides to walk across the country and take in the “freedom” of the outdoors. She’s tired of being cooped up daily. With what meager funds available, she ties up a bag of clothes and bare necessities and strikes out on the road, living life essentially as a hobo.

If she thought working the sweatshop racket was shitty-business, she’s in for an eye-opener, for her troubles are just beginning….

First, her soft feet blister from unaccustomed walking, and improper shoes for the hike. Hitting a town store, she swaps in her shoes for proper gear but is short on funds. She permits the clerk to feel her up but not any further than her thighs, all to save herself a dollars’ expense.

Next, back on the road, a trucker by the name of Cal Morley picks her up, and thinks she is a floozie (hooker), but she insists that he has her all wrong. This sorted, he’s relieved that Eilleen is not a floozie, drops her off but hopes to run across her again in the pending days. She agrees, since he was kind and did not molest her.

Parting ways, she continues her hike toward Cincinnati. It begins to rain, and she is caught unprepared for the deluge to follow. Accepting the offer from another trucker to catch a ride, she begins to doze off in the cab and awakens to the reality that he is groping her. Fending him off, she bails and realization dawns upon her that she left her bag and money in the truck. Frustrated and broke, she hikes the rest of the route to the next truck stop. However, that trucker is not there. She’s out of luck.

While at the truck cafe, she accepts the offered steak from one trucker. She’s starving and drenched, and not thinking straight. That meal ticket leads to a ride in his truck. While aboard, he gets her liquored up to the point that she isn’t fully cognizant of the fact that he is raping her. The author is rather coy about how he presents the reader to the situation, more likely trying to avoid getting in trouble than anything else:

He lifted her, swung her round and laid her down along the seat.

This is as close as we get to being informed that she is molested….

Reviving later, after intoxication has worn off, they part ways, and she is $5 richer for the rape of her body. They have arrived in St. Louis. Realizing that she is now tainted, and her body can earn her quick money, she decides to carefully play the floozie role and begins earning quick cash.

The plot cheapens into the sleaze realm rapidly; Eilleen soon becomes penniless after a massive rainstorm keeps her holed up in a motel. She is forced to accept a Denver-bound ride from a burly white beast, only to learn that he has a sidekick riding shotgun with him. As the author proclaims, a big “nigger,” by name of Sambo. Now the book has degenerated into the realms of racism, however, keep in mind that the author, English, is writing to American style.

They pull off the road and viciously rape her. To further her humiliation, they rub a can of truck gear grease up her crotch and surrounding areas, essentially hazing her. She’s then dumped along the roadside, and found the next day by a milk man, whom brings her to town and hails a cop, as he thinks she is loonie. Arrested and brought to court, she admits her whole life story and they take pity on her. Thus, she lands in a hospital and is cleaned up. However, despite being offered honest jobs, she turns them down and returns to the life of a road floozie.

Returning to the road, she robs a drunk trucker of his funds, then buys a fresh wardrobe and a revolver, for protection against brutes.

Her second victim is too damned tired to be driving. She convinces him to take to the road, and she will “prod” him if he begins to doze. This she does, mercilessly, then, during a spell when he nods off, she bails as the truck rolls off the road. She’s now made her first kill.

Eilleen makes her next kill when the drunkard she robbed earlier catches her at a trucker’s cafe. He slugs her and tells all present that she is poison. Cunningly, she later sneaks into his truck, and convinces him that she wishes to repay him. This she partially does. While on the road, she wrenches on the steering wheel and crashes the truck through a 50-foot drop. She bails out the window and awakes from unconsciousness, once again, in a hospital, and spends a month there, recuperating.

Trying to hunt up fresh game, she is kicked out of a truck station, upon recognition. Realizing that word has rapidly spread, she becomes incensed against the original pair that forced her to lead the floozie lifestyle. She tracks the burly white man and Sambo to Denver, and hooks up with them, playing the part of floozie tremendously. With her first-ever thoughts of premeditated murder coming to fruition, the only thing that could possibly derail her plans include the impressive arrival of Cal Morley, the only honest trucker that tried to help her! He insists on their pairing up again. She finally agrees, but not until the next night. That night…she has plans.

Hooking up with the evil pair, she steers them to an off-road barn, where she intends to permit the burly one first dibs at her body, but insists Sambo go blow, as she doesn’t want to be gang-banged nor watched. They agree, and while he is bullying his way onto her, she pulls the revolver and blows a hole in his chest. Sambo comes running up, thinking that she is the dead person. She shoots him and as he staggers away, screaming, she stalks him like an animal and empties the gun into him.

Cleaning up for the “date” with Cal Morley tomorrow, she finally finds Cal’s rig, and hops in while he is inside the cafe. He clambers in and is surprised to find her inside (honestly! Do all truckers leave their rigs unlocked?)

She confesses her whole life story to him, including the murders. He’s agitated. He professes he is essentially in love with her, but with THIS between them every day of their lives, how will they handle it? He dare not let her go, lest one day she kills herself or someone else, either. She takes matters into her own hands, when she spies the 50-foot drop fence that she used to kill another trucker with earlier in the novel. Eilleen wrenches on the wheel and wraps herself securely about Cal, blocking his ability to bring the wayward truck back under control.

The truck careens off the side and….. THE END !!!


“Road Floozie” by Darcy Glinto (1941)