ABINGDON'S by Michael French


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For Abingdon's (""the Manhattan East Side superemporium""), read Blooming-dale's. And for Michael French, read Arthur Hailey, this being a decent enough imitation-Hailey plot, the kind that brings together a disparate group of characters involved in one business operation--here, a huge department store--for a big violent finale. Chief among the cast are three senior vice-presidents, each of them itching to take over the store from 74-year-old David Abingdon Sinclair: hero Peter Winfield (whose on-and-off affair with discontented model Margot is the book's dreariest saga), nervous Scott Orman (who's keeping his heart condition a secret), and desperate Marilyn Humphries (who's keeping her compulsive gambling and embezzling a secret). While these three feud and back-stab, a valued customer who's a marauding foot fetishist is unmasked; a pickpocket stalks the store (his story's a direct steal from the sneak thief in Hotel); the homosexual window-dresser falls in love with a name designer and has temperamental fits (""He wants to use headless mannequins for the domestics window, wrapping our sheets around their groins, like exotic loincloths,"" complains a co-worker); and someone keeps sending anonymous assassination threats about an upcoming visit to the store by Canada's Trudeau. By the time Trudeau finally arrives, all is ready for a filmable fracas in which everyone gets what he or she deserves. Not as much insider detail as in a true-blue Hailey expose, but less seamy than similar paste-ups, and there's a knowingly skeptical tone bout all that Upper East Side glitter.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday