A REAL KILLING by William Keegan


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Keegan stretches out this thin tickertape about secret takeovers and London Stock Exchange shenanigans by infecting his narrator-hero T. A. R. Quin with a terminal case of the chats and the cutes. Tarquin's on the Morning Jet, writing market tips, but it's via his mistress Mrs. Cordoba (she of the ""august groinal bower"") that he tumbles onto hints of the forthcoming mammoth merger that will send Terby Holdings shares skyrocketing. All Tarquin has to do is buy 500,000 quid worth of shares in his aunt's name with nonexistent money, break the story, and clear 100,000 in profit. That much goes fine, but, then, ""irony of ironies,"" broker John Crampton, who's broken by the soaring prices (he sold instead of buying), blackmails Tarquin into helping him kidnap tycoon Terby to force the market down again. Not terribly clever, plot-wise, but ""I find it difficult not to be flippant about sex,"" Tarquin tells us, and flippant he is--about sex, narrating (""I hope this doesn't slow up the pace""), vocabulary (""[sic]"" in bulk), and kidnapping (Harold Wilson and Edward Heath masks). High tolerance for such mild silliness may make up for a story that sells short.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's