THE MINUS POOL by Walter Stovall


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Lively nonsense from the author of Presidential Emergency. The gimmick here is that $115 million from South Africa is being moved to Manhattan by the South African secret agency (BOSS) with help from Israel's Mossad, both groups planning to bet the money on the big Philadelphia-New Orleans football game. Handling the bet are two fabulous betting men who specialize in football with their company ""Dial-a-Score""--they're Nathan Leitstein and ""Mr. McManus,"" former boxers now in their seventies who are willing to take on these ""hooples"" from afar for a half-million-dollar fee. But problems arise: both secret agencies are trying to bet the money independently without each other knowing it; and a U.S. Special Operations intelligence unit has a man disrupting the scheme (though his boss is taking a payoff so that the scheme can continue). And the kicker is: the foreigners want their money bet with New York's OTB so that their winnings will bankrupt New York State, permitting a total foreign takeover via influence-peddling. This all leads to a lot of fun, although the hilarity is greatly undermined by a drunken Irish-American member of the South African team who is running around town killing folks with an elephant gun. Finally, McManus gets all the bets laid and dies while in flagrante delicto with an elderly Harlem clairvoyant, but his money is safe with Nathan in their secret Swiss bank, while BOSS and the Mossad come out losers. Cynical comedy, good moments.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1980
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster