THE THIRD ANGEL by Jerome Weidman


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The bulky patchwork of town turmoil follows the pattern of the red tape (official and local) that the establishment of a national shrine involves, and uses everyone, from the handyman to the dentist, and historian to a senator, in its design. The threads trace the family and professional (real estate) life of widowed Margaret Gendron and her competition with Annie Vroom, for whom she had once worked; the scandals being raised over Admiral Headland, whose house, Kirkbean, his widow offers to the government, and the whereabouts of the missing papers from his diaries which are being annotated by Aden on foundation money. There's the venomous columnist Patterson Osler, using every means to hang the rap on the dead Admiral; the enigmatic Cecil Inch whose unobtrusive power in the town of Swindon is brought to bear when a town meeting would refuse to permit Kirkbean's becoming a memorial; there is Mrs. Headland's unwavering faith in her husband's integrity and devotion, and his daughter's doubts. From the center of the excitement the ripples extend outward to those on the periphery of the affair -- Headland's loyal ex-secretary, Margaret's brother and his third marriage, Aden's wealthy wife and her father,- each having their little part in the picture. When goodness wins out and the Admiral is vindicated by his lost message, individual problems too are settled and Swindon has a glimpse of greatness. The clam diggers, the commuters and the geniuses of a Fairfield county (Connecticut) town closely observed and interrelated, offer a sprawling target for some direct hits -- and a miss or two -- and present the complexity of distant suburbia in the throes of a mounting controversy. Try this one, say, an O'Hara market.

Publisher: Doubleday