Books: Outrageous Old Crook

THE LAST HURRAH (427 pp.)—Edwin O'Connor—Atlantic-Little, Brown ($4).

A Boston newspaper recently decided that it had just the right reviewer for this book: famed patriarch of Boston pols, ex-Mayor James Michael Curley. When he agreed, the paper mailed him a check along with the review copy. Back came the book and check in a few days, with a curt note from the doughty octogenarian: "The matter is in the hands of my attorneys." Reason for his indignation: a strong resemblance between the book's hero, Frank Skeffington, and James Michael Curley. Asked if he considered Skeffington to be a portrait of himself,...

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