I’ve been reading Head Butler, Jesse Kornbluth’s web site/blog/sage life advice since at least 2011. Actually longer, but that’s as far back as I can document, from extracts I’ve added to my massive library of 50,000 (or so) Evernote posts. He asked me to mention him in this newsletter and, because of the pleasure his work has given me, how could I say no?

Jesse is part of the old-fashioned school of wordsmiths who seem to have the innate ability to find the essence of a story and communicate it in a few well-chosen words. Many of these enviable creatures come from the world of magazines, where some of the slickest writing originates and spills over into other media. As an example I offer Ann Patchett, and Jesse.

I think you might enjoy the recommendations and reviews you’ll find in Head Butler. It’s published four times a week “for people with more taste than time.” You may have seen Jesse’s work in the New York Times Magazine, New York, and Vanity Fair. Or you may have seen his novels. The Times loved them. (Last year he published “JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story,” a story of the young president’s appetites, and a so-far-unsolved murder mystery.)

He invites you to sign up to his newsletter. I look forward to it and read it top to bottom, and I suspect you will, too. It’s a road map to cultural affairs, especially books, movies, and New York. To subscribe, go to HeadButler.com and pop your email address into the box at the upper right of the main sceen. You’ll get an email (it might go to the spam folder, so look there, too) that you must acknowledge to activate your subscription.

If you’ve been a subscriber to this newsletter for very long you have probably read my novel Treasure of Saint-Lazare. It’s a Paris novel because I’m a Paris fanatic. Jan and I go there for two or three months every year when covid isn’t in bloom, I research my novels, we catch up with friends, and we enjoy the city life.

My next novel, so far unnamed, goes to the editor in a month. It has a lot of Paris, of course, but also cuts the gordian knot that was at the core of the first three books, which was World War II, and the famous Raphael painting “Portrait of a Young Man,” which the SS stole from a museum in Poland and has not been seen again (true story). Oh — the huge cache of gold that went along with the painting when it was shipped from Krakow to Munich (the painting never arrived; the gold did, and surfaced later). The gold, it turns out, is destined to finance more Russian mischief in Central Europe. Much more.