BEGGARMAN, THIEF by Irwin Shaw
Kirkus Star

BEGGARMAN, THIEF

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It must have been depressing for Shaw to take up the 1968 trail of rich Rudy Jordache, fatherless nephew Wesley, et al., et al. after television had had its way with Rich Man, Poor Man and a non-Shavian sequel. And it shows. Much of the new bulk is wheedled away as sullen prince Wesley (Beggarman), who Needs to Know about his murdered sailor father's past before hunting the Yugoslav murderer, visits characters from RM, PM and listens to them summarize best-selling sequences. That done, he's persuaded to become a movie star (the kid's a natural actor) in editor-turned-director Aunt Gretchen's low-budget flick before heading off to vengeance in Europe. There he meets up with cousin Billy (Thief), Gretchen's alienated soldier brat, who's been reluctantly involved with terrorists via lusty Monika (""The orgasms are few and far between on the New Left""). And everyone converges on Cannes, where RM, PM finale-ed--Wesley to try to gun down Dad's killer, Gretchen & Co. to score at the Film Festival with that terrific movie by a Woman Director. Where has ex-politician Rudy been the nonce, you ask? On the sidelines, relieved of drunkie wife Jean, helpful to ail, and cardboard to the end. Shaw is nothing if not professional in his button-pushing (sentiment, sex, glamor, danger), but this is very much a winding-down, with none of the rags-to-bitches momentum of the Jordache rise. Still, even if TViewers will be confused by the total tube/page variance, they'll find small-screen echoes in much of the dialogue (""I don't know where I am. Tomorrow ask for me in the Lost and Found Department""). And this commodity would be in demand even if it were Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief. . . which, come to think of it, might have been a lot more fun.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1977
Publisher: Delacorte