WARRICK by Marilyn Harris


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Mansions and castles, centrally heated by familial fevers, are Harris's specialty. But here she leaves the period dynastic marches, as in her popular Eden series, for contemporary Oklahoma, where a comatose self-made millionaire is, at the age of 76, expiring veree, veree slowly, while his heirs and old cronies (some who love him; others who hate him) flock in for the death watch. Granddaughter Mereth, who'd left the Warrick estate forever at 20, drives in from Tulsa, knowing that Ty Warrick would ""die like a Roman, superbly without fear."" Mereth has been an exile from Warrick--like brother Brit, a freestyle social worker in the slums of London, and like brother Josh, a failing Hollywood writer and a homosexual. Brit and Ty had had art ideological (socialism vs. capitalism) stand-off. Josh's lifestyle was anathema to the Man of Oil. Mereth's estrangement from Ty, however, involved a well of guilt, shame, love, and hate far darker and deeper. The grief of Massie, Ty's long-time black lover, hostess, CPA, and partner, is top-grade and pure, as she remembers the ""oceanic years"" of love. Also milling about: old Doc, a best buddy, who finally agrees to call in a ""hotshot wog"" neurologist; Ty's old banker, whose bank is going under; Ty's partner of 50 years who muses about the still untapped potential of Ty's acres in the ""Warrick Basin""; a lawyer worrying the latest secret, odd codicil in Ty's will; an old Osage Indian, whose father and Ty's Pa had battled for land, hand-to-hand, and made their sons friends for life; and the Indian's mainly white grandson Chris (Harvard Law and Cambridge, England). There'll be two deaths by accident and suicide, and Ty's inevitable end, and a disappearing corpse. Then. . .just what happened between Mereth and Grandpa? Are the old buddies up to some financial hanky-panky? And what's in that will? Much boozy reminiscing, anguished pacing, gruff old-boy talk and heated gushers of old resentments and current woes. As always, expertly plotted--but louder and more static than the English Eden sagas.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1985
Publisher: Doubleday