Books: Along the Rue Regret

SKYLINE (314 pp.)—Gene Fowler—Viking ($5).

The kind of newspaper assignment Gene Fowler relished in the 1920s was to be told by his managing editor to find a deserving old gentleman for a monkey-gland rejuvenation operation. When a scholarly greybeard named Mr. Bacon came into the New York American's offices primed with schemes of calendar reform and admitted, conversationally, to two carnal thoughts a year "at the most," Fowler knew he had his man. He went to a pet shop and procured "a nasty-tempered fugitive from an organ-grinder's beat," though in his columns Fowler called the monkey "Ponce de Leon." The operation went...

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