CHICAGO - Renowned crime novelist Eugene Izzi wrote mysteries. Now, Chicago
police detectives are trying to unravel the mystery of the 43-year-old's death.
Izzi's body was found late Saturday morning hanging by a rope outside an
open 14th-floor window from a business building, 6 N. Michigan Ave., in
Chicago's Loop, where the former Hegewisch resident maintained an office.
Area 4 Violent Crimes detectives are conducting a death investigation but
are not saying if his death is a suicide or a homicide.
A suicide note was not found at the crime scene, Area 4 Violent Crimes Sgt.
Jerold Swarbrick said Monday.
"We're investigating every lead that there is," Swarbrick said.
The Cook County medical examiner's office conducted an autopsy of Izzi's
body on Sunday but has held off making a cause-of-death ruling until detectives
have concluded their investigation, a spokeswoman said.
Police have made no arrests.
Izzi grew up in Hegewisch, which served as the scene for several of his
crime novels, and he often wrote about crimes involving the mob, said Paul
Bollheimer, head librarian of the Chicago Public Library's Hegewisch branch.
The Hegewisch Branch stocks copies of several of Izzi's crime novels,
including "The Take" and "The Bad Guys," both of which were checked
out by a patron Monday, Bollheimer said.
The branch has hard-bound copies of "The Take" - the first crime novel
published by Izzi - "The Bad Guys" and "The Booster." It also has
paperback copies of "Invasions," "The Prime Roll" and "Tony's
The branch had copies of other Izzi novels, but Bollheimer said he's
uncertain what's happened to those books.
According to the 1994 edition of "Contemporary Authors," published by Gale
Research, Izzi was born about 1953 and lived in Hegewisch.
Mike Aniol, owner of Aniol's hardware in Hegewisch, said he recalls that
Izzi's family lived in the 13200 block of South Carondolet Avenue near Mann
Park. Izzi attended St. Columba's School in Hegewisch and George Washington
High School on the East Side.
The Chicago Public School system confirmed Izzi attended George Washington
High School and was enrolled there in 1970.
"Contemporary Authors" says Izzi worked at U.S. Steel's South Works and
served in the U.S. Army before becoming a writer.
Izzi's novels were well-read in Hegewisch until the late 1980s when Izzi was
featured in a news magazine article, Bollheimer said.
Izzi angered many Hegewisch residents with his comments, which portrayed
Hegewisch as being a crime-infested ghetto. Many thought Izzi's comments put
the community in a bad, if not a false light, Bollheimer said.
In the article, Izzi stated that while he lived in Hegewisch as a youth, he
had to carry around an ice pick for his own protection because the neighborhood
was so tough, Bollheimer recalled.
"(Izzi) tried to make the community look tough so he would look tough so he
could add credibility to his characters," Bollheimer said.
Izzi is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons, Gino and Nick. Izzi
lived in Chicago, but police won't say where.
No funeral arrangements have been made.