LAMPREY'S LEGACY by Richard Shaw


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The search for the heir to a deceased TV titan is the premise of this nicely lighthearted, fairly absorbing tale in the Citizen Kane, truth-behind-the-legend manner. The hero is lawyer Karl Weber, who is surprisingly appointed sole executor of the estate of the late, super-rich Noah Dexter--mastermind of inspirational TV ads, ex-Hollywood scriptwriter, creator of a long-running soap opera. But the supposed heir, a son named Michael, seems not to exist, so Karl starts searching. He talks to Dexter's housekeeper, to Dexter's ex-wife Pat--a philosophy prof at Swarthmore whom Dexter married for her expertise in the basics of fairy-tale storytelling (which Dexter applied to TV commercials). Karl also tracks down three other wives--including the one (now dead) who gave birth to the elusive Michael. And, eventually, after having learned that Dexter was the wiliest of parasites (none of his many victims has a bad word for him), Karl finds Michael himself: born in the 1940s, when Dexter was still a Portuguese sailor, the son is now a failed businessman and yachtsman-philosopher who at first refuses the inheritance. Finally, however, Michael accepts the dough, turning it over to Karl to administer: ""Keep for yourself one dollar for every dollar you spend doing good."" And as Michael sails away Karl returns to N.Y. to start his own firm . . . and get together with Dexter's ex-wife Pat, who has won his heart. Some musings on commercialism, some fun with TV history: a modestly appealing morality play.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Beaufort--dist. by Scribners