Books: Mr. New York

BEAU JAMES (389 pp.)—Gene Fowler —Viking ($4).

A woman in the audience fainted. Without a second thought, New York's Mayor James J. (for John) Walker darted from the radio microphone into which he was delivering his inaugural address, and knelt at her side. In the brief radio silence that day in 1926, thousands of New Yorkers stared at their sets and wondered: What was Jimmy up to now?

They would often ask that question during the next half dozen years. Gentleman Jimmy was forever darting away from his post in the peak-of-prosperity days—to Florida or...

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