Books: The Wire-Recorder Ear

LET No MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH (467 pp.)—Willard Motley—Random House ($4.95).

Grant Holloway is a Chicago free-lance magazine writer with "ears like wire recorders." Halfway through Let No Man Write My Epitaph, he slips out of his Lake Shore apartment to sniff at the "great beast of a city" that crouches like a "blue-black panther" in the slum area beyond Chicago's North Clark Street. His socialite wife, Wanda, watches him go: "She smiled, knowing him so well. Prowling. For the story . . . She liked him that way. He should do a novel."

Grant never quite gets around to it, but his...

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