The author of Mammy Pleasant (see report on P. 650 -- in Service for 1953) has quite obviously felt that the mass of material accumulated -- in her research on the notoriously successful Madame of San Francisco's boisterous days -- on her chief associate, who called himself Thomas Bell, rated another book. Frankly, it reads like a mass of half digested material. True- those were days when fortunes spiralled- up and down; when banking kings yielded supremacy to railroad kings. But others have used this fantastic era to better advantage. Thomas Bell could have been identified with each of the boom periods; but primarily he rated as a quicksilver king, for it was in the weird history of the quicksilver mines that he made his name. He was almost as devious and not as clever as his mistress; she used him- helped his rise- did little to prevent his fall, but remained, through many years, the dominant influence in his life. Take this for a feverish tale of a fabulous city. The plethora of names and incidents never become fully integrated, and the biography remains a superficial assortment of notes, tapping a rich vein of gilded and at the same time sordid history.