MAKING GOOD by Loren Singer


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 Soldiers sorting through ill-gotten Nazi loot find a case full of modern masters but can't find the proper owners--in a new novel from the author of The Parallax View (1970), etc. Moral complexities are the meat of this leisurely return to the immediate post-WW II period narrated by an 85% honest former pawnshop employee. The US Army's 855th Service Company, set up in war-ruined Germany to determine proper ownership of Nazi loot, receives several cases of exceptionally nice stuff--including a fortune in modern masters such as Klee and Kandinsky. Nazi records tie the collection to a Herr Hamplemann, but the raffish gentleman who shows up at the 855th claiming to be Hamplemann fails to recognize a single article casually presented to him by virtuous Captain Earley. The fleeing fraudulent Hamplemann shoots Earley and several of his troops, then drops from sight, possibly dead. The survivors continue the search for the real owner years after their company has been disbanded. Meanwhile, the narrator continues a relationship with certain opportunistic European lawyers--those who specialize in representing tenuous property claims for absent owners--and eventually locates a new Herr Hamplemann in New York. But this Hamplemann, who has no interest in the artwork, falls to gunshots fired, perhaps, by the old Hamplemann. Nothing is solved until the members of the 855th, who were never too fond of each other, reunite in Paris in the mid-Fifties. Major treatment of a minor story. Sags under its own weight.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-8050-1223-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991