Plain talk reminiscences by the city editor of a rough and ready newspaper, The Los Angeles Examiner reveal a life of high ideals, hard work (and knocks) and ""beats"" on some of the nation's biggest crime cases. Around the turn of the century, Richardson was born in Chicago, but his family moved to Winnipeg and at 18 James entered newspapering the real way- when he'd been expelled from school for neglecting his studies. Reporting and feeling life as it was, came easier. By the time he was in his early thirties Richardson had become one of the youngest city editors in the field- at the Los Angeles Herald. He was married then, but tragedy came for his wife died, and for five years he became an almost incurable alcoholic. He lost two jobs and went into movie publicity work, the while fighting for his sense of decency and real happiness until he gave up drinking and began the slow struggle back to normalcy. It worked and Richardson, remembered for a competent past, was offered the city post on the Examines and went on to have his finger in the Bugsy Siegel and Black Dahlia cases. Romantically written, this has its moments of melodrama in and out of the press rooms, and a strong behind-the-scenes appeal.