Cinema: Queen of Tarts

A House Is Not a Home. Polly Adler was a flashy flesh-peddler who flourished in Manhattan during the '20s and '30s and liked to think her establishment was the Versailles of vice. It was indeed a fancy whorehouse. Her furnishings were French antiques. Her customers were bankers, bluebloods, politicians, policemen, racketeers. Her girls were class. Her prices ($20) were competitive. And along with everything else there was Polly, a short, swart woman with crocodilian charm and a heart of ill-got gold.

Polly didn't actually tell all in her bestselling memoirs, which were published...

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