Subtitled An Episode in the Moral History of San Francisco, this is a true tale of the career and comeuppance of a political boss, told with gusto and careful attention to detail. Abraham Ruef, a man of many parts, was the big man in the Paris of the West before, during, and after the earthquake of 1906. His penchant for cutting a good figure was only subordinate to the zeal with which he planned and executed systematic graft maneuvers that paralyzed San Francisco's political echelons and scandalized her citizenry. Finally a fiery and talented prosecutor joined forces with a crusading newspaper editor and a prominent businessman who contributed funds so that the city they all loved could be purged of a sinister. If sometimes ludicrous - network of corruption, vice, collusion, and . This has all the elements of a brisk thriller -- courtroom scenes, midnight liaisons, lurid anarchy and gaudy melodrama -- with just enough basic historical verisimilitude to make it credible.