TAKEOVER TIME by Arthur R.G. Solmssen


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Solmssen, who has set previous novels in the Philadelphia law firm of Conyers & Dean (Rittenhouse Square, The Comfort Letter) lets us into their board room again to see that no matter what we've heard, Philadelphia lawyers are pretty hot stuff. This is actually a novel about commuting. The characters and themes shuttle erratically between Louis Auchincloss and Harold Robbins; from Main Line Waspishness to mindless midtown sexual athletics. Commuter-in-Chief on the boardroom-to-bedroom-to-bedlam line is Graham Anders, 50, a senior partner who can't seem to find enough junior bed-partners. Despite constant jet lag, the press of zillion-dollar legal business, recurrent arthritis, and crippling guilt about what his flagrant infidelities are doing to his adoring son, Anders manages to juggle a confused wife, a pregnant young American mistress (the former Miss New Jersey Cranberries) and a voluptuous German man-eater. The zaftig German is the figure linking all the plot elements. She gets off on fast horses, faster cars, and mature millionaires. Her mere appearance on the scene causes lustful flare-ups in men who haven't felt randy since General Motors was a pup. The company founded by Mrs. Anders' grandfather is a takeover target. The predators are the German girlfriend's stepfather (an ex-Nazi) and her American fiancÉ, 69, who has been born again sexually in her arms. World War II and the Holocaust are reduced to doleful background themes for contemporary capitalist war-games. It is all without texture, all glitzy surface, no matter in what direction the plot moves. There are short side-trips to the ever-popular suburbs of Remorse and Repentance, but since no one's moral sensibilities are much more complex than a club sandwich, there is no real moral engagement. The Protestant ethic and the millionaire blues as trendy melodrama.

Pub Date: July 3rd, 1986
Publisher: Little, Brown