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John Taintor Foote, one assumes he is somehow related to Shelby & Horton, was a playwright and screenwriter of the 30's (his credits include the great film The Mark of Zorro).  In addition, he penned several of the best fishing stories ever written in the continuing misadventures of George Baldwin Potter, collected here with introductions by Foote's son, Timothy.

Potter, a fly fishing pedant, is a bachelor in his forties when the series opens, but he has decided to take a young bride.  The first story, the eponymous Wedding Gift, finds him pouring out his soul to our narrator.  Seems that George's new bride, Isabelle, was not terribly impressed with the honeymoon that he so carefully planned, a one week trek into the wilds of Maine to fly fish.  As George's tale wends it's convoluted way to it's conclusion, it builds towards an awful, but truly hilarious, climax which leaves the newlyweds' marriage in a shambles.  In the next story, the marriage has again foundered on the rocks after George, dispatched to an auction to purchase a coveted antique, instead finds himself mesmerized by a fly rod collection.  And in the final tale, Isabelle gets her revenge by using a brilliant but devious ploy to trick George into buying her a farm in Connecticut.

The stories are a delightful screwball combination of fishing and battle-of-the-sexes comedy, sort of Isaak Walton rewritten by Preston Sturges.  I can't recommend them highly enough.


Grade: (A)


Book-related and General Links:
    -FILMOGRAPHY John Taintor Foote (iMDB)
    -CREDITS: Swanee River (1939)
    -CREDITS: Broadway Serenade (1939)
    -Michael's Fishing Library (minireviews & recommendations)
    -Shadow on the Rock (Abstract of an article by Timothy Foote, originally published in the September 1997 issue of Smithsonian Magazine)