FORTUNE by Paul-Loup Sulitzer


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More puerile drivel on the implausible career of Franz Cimballi, a precocious French financier, whose transnational shenanigans have been recounted to equally tedious effect in Cash (1986) and Money (1985). In the spring of 1976, shortly after New Jersey legalized gambling, young (26) Franz decides to commit a sizable portion of his $80-million fortune to a hotel-casino in Atlantic City. While raising funds to acquire and refurbish this pleasure dome from, among other sources, a shady Chinese lady in Macao, the globetrotting Cimballi takes off to rescue a Saudi pal held for ransom in North Yemen. The charm-free narrator also finds time to deal with the extortionate demands of the Mafia-connected Caltani brothers; follow the inferential leads of their slick mouthpiece (to the South African enclaves of Bophuthatswana); and cope with the often kinky needs of mistress Sarah Kyle, who minds his son as well as an enchanting Austrian waft named Heidi. In the wake of a massive insurance fraud, to which he's a culpable party, Cimballi calls on a network of oddball allies and mercenaries to mount a retributive sting that gets him out of the high-stakes game on a near break-even basis. At the close of these convoluted proceedings, he realizes with appropriately rueful surprise that the children are his true fortune. Sounding brass and tinkling Cimballi.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1987
Publisher: Lyle Stuart