The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the devastating fire that followed have enjoyed extensive coverage in print and the movies, but not for some time, and now a new novel that takes it all on has been bought by a local house, Chronicle Books. Editorial director Jay Schaefer bought U.S. and Canadian rights in 1906 by true crime author and novelist James Dalessandro from agent Peter Miller at PMA, for publication in hardcover next spring. A movie sale has already been made, to Barry Levinson's Spring Creek Pictures for Warner Bros. after a bidding war, and German rights have also been sold, to Droemer Knaur. The book deals not only with the natural disasters, but the involvement of a group of men called the Graft Hunters who were sent to the city, with presidential approval, to arrest most of the city fathers for graft and corruption. A fine mess, as Laurel and Hardy were wont to say.