This complex, contrary, elusive (or perhaps inconclusive) study of a ""march man"" (the dictionary definition-- ""an inhabitant of the border regions"") is a reconstruction attempted by the son who hardly knew him. In attempting to understand his father, Franklin Carey, Harry naturally is hoping to find himself. This is Keith Botsford's fourth novel (Benvenuto, The Eighth-Best-Dressed Man in the World, etc.) and it has certain points of similarity with its predecessors-- a kind of cosmopolitanism, extravagance, eccentricity. In any case now the three-panel portrait is achieved through (a) a vociferous Marchese Maximilian, Harry's great uncle on his mother's side; (b) his mother's diary, a rather jittery journal kept in the third person, which tells of her stay in California (the ""marches""- all middle class mediocrity) which ended with her loss of her husband to another woman; and (c) Franklin's last days, after his marriage to the mistress who threatened to leave him, and during the vigil held by his sister over the now defenseless man.... Highstrung, this has a kind of nervous intensity and calculated curiosity, designed to keep the reader interested rather than involved. Some may object to the panache-- it is spattered with sophisticated French and Italian.