Books: Civil War in the Upper South a Summons to Memphis

by Peter Taylor; Knopf; 209 pages; $15.95

It is easy to be hooked by this book. For one thing, the opening sentence rates high on any scale of irresistibility: "The courtship and remarriage of an old widower is always made more difficult when middle-aged children are involved -- especially when there are unmarried daughters." Perhaps a few readers could stop right there, unmoved by the promise of a comedy of manners with undercurrents of family squabbling and greed, set forth with whimsical decorum. But not those familiar with the works of the author who wrote these 25 introductory words. Peter Taylor, 69, has acquired over four decades a...

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