THE DIVIDED LADY by Bruce Marshall

THE DIVIDED LADY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Accounting revealed a new facet of Bruce Marshall, in a story of politics among accountants. In The Divided Lady, his hero, Jim Childers, narrator of the tale, is an accountant, sent to Rome to untangle the financial affairs of a trusting Mother House, which had invested almost their total available funds in a rogue, who promised to produce a film dealing with the life of a saint. Morabito, the pseudo-producer, turns out to be adept at stealing from Peter to pay Paul, and Childers finds him a bit too slick for him (particularly as Childers seems to have more of an eye for the ladies than business). Change the gender of the title and you have him pinpointed. His goal is ultimately achieved, though Morabito conveniently dies. But the story of Childers' complicated amours goes off in all directions: flashbacks show him involved with twins in the war years; contemporary involvements are just as complex. There is Mila, who is finding it difficult to get an annulment arrangement through Holy Church. And there is Bice, whom Childers compromises in the eyes of her august family. And nobody in the whole runaround holds any prizes for truthfulness. Marshall has used this rather Latin vehicle to display both erudition and sly wit, to poke fun at everything- the Church, the military, the codes of morals. And sometimes he becomes much too subtie to achieve his ends.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1960
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin