Professor Potholm is reading...

Panicking Ralph
By: Bill James

[Professor Potholm is also reading “The Campaigners” by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.]

These books come from two different series from which I read and re-read a half dozen selections every year. “Panicking Ralph” is from the Harpur and Iles mystery series of Bill James who does the most intriguing and engaging (with almost Shakespearean word pictures) on the interface between police and criminals, an interface requiring the ongoing work of “grasses” or police informants. Panicking Ralph is my favorite character, a drug dealer with social and intellectual pretensions who nevertheless manages to hold his own among “the lovely movers” of his profession.

By contrast, “The Campaigners” is from Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ “The Morland Dynasty” which traces a family from York throughout English history. This volume is set during the Napoleonic wars and features the author’s stock in trade: strong willed women who shape the dynasty as well as the history of England. The Morlands are always present at the great events of that history, even through it is their family dynamics which hold the series together.

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