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Mike Flannery On Duty and Off   By: (1869-1937)

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Mike Flannery On Duty and Off by Ellis Parker Butler is an entertaining collection of short stories that brings to life the adventures of a lovable and witty Irish-American fireman, Mike Flannery. Set in early 20th century New York City, these tales provide an amusing and insightful glimpse into the daily life and struggles of a hardworking firefighter.

The book kicks off with a bang, as the reader is immediately introduced to the humorous and well-developed character of Mike Flannery. Right from the start, Butler's writing style effortlessly captures Flannery's charm, highlighting his strong sense of duty, quick thinking, and knack for finding himself in hilarious situations. The author's ability to infuse every page with wit and clever wordplay keeps the audience engaged throughout.

One of the standout elements of this collection is the author's use of vivid descriptions. Whether it is the chaos of a burning building or the bustling streets of the city, Butler paints a vivid picture that enables readers to feel fully immersed in the scenes. This attention to detail not only enhances the storytelling but also complements the light-hearted humor, making for an engaging and enjoyable read.

Additionally, Butler expertly weaves in elements of social commentary, touching on the challenges faced by working-class individuals at the time. From pokes at bureaucracy to critiques of social class divisions, these stories subtly shed light on the realities of early 20th century America. This layer of depth adds richness and substance to the otherwise entertaining narratives.

Each story within the collection showcases Butler's talent for crafting compelling and relatable characters. Flannery's interactions with his colleagues and the citizens he encounters on the job offer glimpses into the diverse personalities that colored the city during that era. Moreover, the interpersonal dynamics and dialogue provide a true-to-life feel, giving readers a sense of the camaraderie and unique bond shared by those in the fire service.

However, one minor drawback to the book is its lack of a cohesive narrative arc. As a collection of standalone stories, there is no overarching plotline that connects the tales together. While this allows readers to dip in and out of the book at their leisure, it may leave some longing for a more comprehensive story arc or character development.

Overall, Mike Flannery On Duty and Off is a delightful and highly enjoyable read. Although it lacks a unifying thread, the charm, wit, and vivid imagery found within these tales make up for any narrative shortcomings. Butler's memorable characters and humorous escapades will leave readers both entertained and longing for more adventures with the affable Mike Flannery.

First Page:


On Duty and Off



Illustrations by Gustavus C. Widney

New York Doubleday, Page & Company


[Illustration: " 'Pho e nix!' Is it a man's name, I dunno? "]






"'Pho e nix!' Is it a man's name, I dunno?" (Frontispiece)

"''Tis well enough t' say kape it, but cats like thim does not kape very well'"

"'I will tell you what it is,' said Mr. Gratz"

"Her pencil was delicately poised above the ruled page"



They were doing good work out back of the Westcote express office. The Westcote Land and Improvement Company was ripping the whole top off Seiler's Hill and dumping it into the swampy meadow, and Mike Flannery liked to sit at the back door of the express office, when there was nothing to do, and watch the endless string of waggons dump the soft clay and sand there. Already the swamp was a vast landscape of small hills and valleys of new, soft soil, and soon it would burst into streets and dwellings. That would mean more work, but Flannery did not care; the company had allowed him a helper already, and Flannery had hopes that by the time the swamp was populated Timmy would be of some use... Continue reading book >>

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