Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book recommendation: 'Other People's Money' by Justin Cartwright


The venerable bank of Tubal & Co is in trouble. It's not the first time in its three-hundred-year history - it was bailed out by Rothschilds' in 1847 - but this time will be the last. A sale is under way, and a number of rather important facts need to be kept hidden, especially from any potential buyer. Hundreds of millions of pounds are being diverted - temporarily - to shore it up, masterminded by the bank's chairman, Julian Trevelyan-Tubal. His aging father Sir Henry would be horrified, but fortunately he is in the early stages of dementia, writing admonitory letters that all say the same thing to Julian from the sunny climes of Antibes. His letters instruct his son to stick to the time-honoured traditions of the bank, and, indeed, had his son taken his advice the bank might still be solvent. Great families have all sorts of secrets, though, and this one is no exception. And whether they are lovers, old partners, or retainers who resent not being part of the family, they have a nasty habit of turning awkward. When an alimony payment from the bank to an abandoned husband, the penniless, quixotic director (currently putting on Thomas the Tank Engine, hoping to woo Daniel Day-Lewis for his new playscript), a trickle of consequences turns into a tsunami of potential catastrophe for the family, the bank and all who sail in her. Other People's Money is both a subtle thriller and an acutely delineated portrait of a world and a class. Justin Cartwright manipulates our sympathies with masterly ease, unwinding the story with gentle satire, and, as ever, acute and beautifully phrased insights into the eccentricities and weaknesses of the human condition.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

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