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George LeBrun's a grand old man who's lived most of his near hundred years under the Tammany big-top. He went from free lancer to the now defunct Coroner's office to secretaryship of the Chief Medical Examiner. Among cadavers and crooks, millionaires and morons, his beat was New York's Golden Age, a cycle covering Reconstruction, World War I and the Twenties; ""fabulous"" people, ""fabulous"" scoops in a fast and fascinating now-it-can-be-told summing up. There was the red velvet swing and Sanford White; Hetty Green- the Wall Street ""witch"" who lived in a hovel while her Union Club hubby made whoopee; Dot King- the butterfly girl with one sugar daddy, one sponging lover and one unsolved murder-her own; police Lt. Becker who was electrocuted for the killing of gambler Rosenthal; Oil Trusts and the Rockefellers; the Grand Central train wreck and Vanderbilt's ""faulty management""; Black Hand vendettas and Chinatown clashes. LeBrun became the father of the Sullivan Law after the loco gunning of writer D.G. Philips; he campaigned against streetcars, auto accidents and the Bowery's McGurk saloon where gaslit era whores ended it all on carbolic acid; he knew Al Smith, FDR, Hearst, even Jackie Kennedy's grandad; and Charles Norris, the ""outstanding pathologist"", was his hero. His secret of longevity? An interest in others. There's enough here to make the page 4 boys over at the Daily News look to their laurels. Gaudy tales, yes, but in good taste, from a good man, a good life.

Publisher: Morrow