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“He pulls a knife, you pull a gun…that’s the Chicago way,” Sean Connery’s very Scottish-sounding Irish cop insists in The Untouchables. Nonsense: As NPR Weekend Edition host Scott Simon makes clear in his raucous second novel, Windy City, the Chicago way is much more subtle—though when it comes to Chicago’s crazy-quilt city council, politics is still a blood sport. He pulls a sex-scandal accusation? You pull a U.S. Attorney who’s scoured through years of questionable political donations. Simon kick-starts his story with a shticky premise—somebody’s killed the mayor by poisoning his pizza—but Windy City eventually settles into a knowing and detailed portrait of Chicago politics. Simon’s decision to concentrate on the city’s 50 aldermen gets him a few laughs—given to squabbling but always ready to rubber-stamp the mayor’s initiatives, they’re the “comic relief of politics.” Yet the ward-level focus makes for an excellent cross-section of the city’s class and ethnic divisions. At the center of the storm is alderman Sunny Roopini, who as interim mayor is charged with keeping City Hall intact for three days before a new mayor is appointed. This proves difficult, as multiple factions jockey for power and Roopini has to keep feds, cops, and packs of reporters (aka “chihuahuas”) at bay. The busy plotting doesn’t get in the way of Simon’s pitch-perfect depictions of politicking, which neatly channel the ghost of Mike Royko. When Roopini is challenged about a 13-year-old donor, he’s canny enough not to sweat. “Every campaign wants the youth vote,” he says. Simon discusses and signs copies of his work at noon Thursday, April 17, at Nathan’s, 3150 M St. NW. $35. For reservations call (202) 338-2000.