32 Books in 32 Days – Day 29: Jelly’s Gold

Each day leading up to the April 17 announcement of the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature


Genre Fiction Finalist,
Jelly’s Gold
David Housewright


An excerpt from Jelly’s Gold:

A man matching the description that the Sarge gave me was sitting with a companion near the door. He was supposed to be twenty-two, yet they both looked young enough to eat off the children’s menu at Denny’s. They were sucking on bottles of light beer-I knew they were tough because neither used a glass. Occasionally they would throw a glance at Ivy and Berglund, only they never held it long. Amateurs, I thought. They were both wearing windbreakers; the driver’s was green and had the logo of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team. It was about seventy degrees outside, a bit warm for the Twin Cities in the first week of May, and warmer still inside Rickie’s, so I figured the jackets were meant to conceal their handguns.

In 1933, Frank “Jelly” Nash was suspected of masterminding a daring robbery of gold bars, and left the treasure somewhere in Saint Paul. Two graduate students and two thugs are in competition to find the legendary stash of gold. Rushmore McKenzie, a retired Saint Paul policeman, gets involved in the search for the treasure – and also a killer – when the hunt turns deadly.


David Housewright has worked as a journalist covering both crime and sports, an advertising copywriter and creative director, and a writing instructor. He has written nine crime novels and won both an Edgar Award and a Minnesota Book Award for his crime fiction. David lives in St. Paul.


“David Housewright’s Jelly’s Gold is a completely absorbing mix of mysteries present and past. Unlicensed Saint Paul private investigator Rush McKenzie hunts a contemporary killer while searching for a 1930s Public Enemy’s cache of stolen gold. Some fascinating historical details augment a treasure hunt which no one can resist… Very enjoyable reading; well paced and smoothly written… All the action is plausible and all the characters’ motives believable. The mix of factual history and a fictional murder mystery with an appealing shamus investigator is handled very well… Should have high appeal to all readers—men and women, young and old. Rushmore McKenzie has an attractive voice in this first person narration.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge

“Housewright not only writes a compelling historical mystery here, but also engages in reconstructive history, using contemporary accounts to trace Nash’s movements in 1933. He also employs a nifty device to bring the history into the novel, careening between McKenzie and other seekers of the prize, and Nash’s own words cast into fictional form. Readers will learn a great deal of fascinating information, including the fact that Nash’s nickname “Jelly” stands for his favorite safecracking device, nitroglycerin. Top notch.” – Booklist (starred review)

David Housewright was a guest on “Minnesota Crimewave” in November 2009. See him interviewed by his peers here:


Award winners will be announced at the sold out 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. If you wish to be placed on a waiting list should additional seats become available, please call us at 651-222-3242.

If you missed out on tickets, be among the first to hear about the winners! Follow us on Twitter as we tweet live from the gala on Saturday night.


Have you read Jelly’s Gold? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!



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