Thursday, June 6, 2013

Only in chicago ...

In a pig's eye: a Jimmy Flannery mystery By R. Wright Campbell ISBN: 0671703285, New York : Pocket Books, c1991. I enjoyed this book, mostly because it brought back so many memories of Chicago and its politics. I lived in that city for almost 5 years during the reign of Richard Daley SR. and the Democratic political machine. I certainly had seen political games before, having lived in Baltimore, but I was completely unprepared for Chicago! Still, it was fascinating to watch, and this book provides an inside view of how the system worked, even 20 years later, after the Mayor’s (funny, I still think of The Mayor and Richard Daley Sr. in the same thought) strangle hold had been broken or at least dented, and several reforms had been set in place. Had this book been set anywhere else, it couldn’t have worked, because the very unwinding of its plot required the politics of Chicago, party, neighborhood and ethnic to unfold and intertwine. They do, though, and sometimes I got the feeling I was reading a social study as much as a mystery. Some of the characters in the book are truly engaging, though, and their humanity is heartwarming, as is the humor that runs like a golden thread throughout the entire book. Again, it’s “Chicago” humor, but it’s still funny, even if you never lived there. If you ever did, it’s twice as much fun. This book is part of a series, and, while I won’t go on campaign to read the others, I will happily do so should one of them happen to cross my path.

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