THE ACCOUNT by Roderick Mann


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A limp romantic thriller filled with the pricey trivialities of the most upper of the upper social crust, by British-horn TV celebrity journalist Mann. Julia Lang runs the publicity department of London's on-the-rise Burlington Hotel. Between bouts with the hotel's reptilian director--a man who raped her when she was 17 and has unpleasantly reentered her life--and fights with her boyfriend, she falls in with the dashing, obscenely wealthy Robert Brand, one of those husky prime-time soap-opera tycoons who exerts the same mesmerizing effect over his lovers as he does over currency markets. Brand is married, but his wife is crazy, holed up in the couple's lavish Acapulco estate. She has evidently arranged the murder of Brand's last mistress. Besides meddling in her husband's affaires de coeur, Grace Brand is also determined to keep her hands on the Brand fortune, which she does by terrorizing Robert's Swiss hanker, a former Nazi sympathizer with several skeletons in his own closets. When Julia tells Robert that she's pregnant, he's overjoyed, to the tune of a $20 million transfer to her account. It never goes through. Then Robert, having made the birth-to-be announcement, immediately falls victim to a fatal postcoital heart attack. Enter Guy Ravenel, a swashbuckling American operator who, in league with a Swiss bank investigator, pokes into Julia's case. What follows is familiar globetrotting, jet-setty nonsense. The author knows aspects of this world, but it all comes off sounding like a cross between Robin Leach and third-string le Carr‚. Finally, a whole Nazi subplot is crammed, summary-style, into the last 50 pages. Overloaded with witless plot swerves and a welter of clich‚s.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dove--dist. by Penguin