Books: Jimmy's Jeebies

THE STORY OF MRS. MURPHY (445 pp.)—Natalie Anderson Scott—Dutton ($3).

The U.S. book trade's midsummer, or muggier-than-usual, season has begun. Mrs. Murphy, the July choice of the Book-of-the-Month Club, dutifully touted by B.-of-M.'s Bookpicker Clifton Fadiman as "compassionate" and "powerful," is a clumsy, cliche-sodden version of The Lost Weekend. The problem of the alcoholic in society is as grave as ever, 'but The Story of Mrs. Murphy swamps it with glycerine tears and marshmallow emotions.

"Better watch that temper of yours, son," old Mom Murphy had said. The killer, shaken with remorse, sank to his knees on the kitchen floor. "Darling," he sobbed,...

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