Thirty years after unscrupulous businessman David Methany fathered an illegitimate child, Methany's legitimate daughter and heir, Beth, finds her new job as the head of her late father's company hampered by Methany's former indiscretions.
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Gripping, if increasingly implausible, first novel--a sins-of- the-father melodrama in the Mary Higgins Clark mold. Beth Methany--fumbling for the reins of her powerful, unscrupulous father David's real-estate empire after his death--has enough problems without a series of anonymous notes obscurely hinting at vengeance for some unspecified episode involving society matron Lilly Jane Litwin, dead these 30 years. She can't know--as we do, courtesy of extended flashbacks--that her correspondent is Lilly Jane's illegitimate daughter by David, who had first insisted on an abortion when the wife of his dedicated enemy Harry Litwin conceived, and then poisoned her midway through her ninth month when she still refused. Delivered anyway--despite her father's knowledge--and now working for his firm as a can-do lawyer, Alyson Gentry, robbed of the chance to claim her birthright when he dies, focuses instead on destroying the unwitting half-sister who's inherited the company. The opening scenes here, which set up the revenge plot, are effectively edgy, but once Alyson gets down to her skullduggery--worming herself into Beth's confidence in order to get the inside dope that will allow her to send Beth the wrong color flowers, tamper with her potting kiln, drain her car's gas tank, provoke her allergy to shellfish, and threaten her estranged lover, Councilman Ben Wyler--her plotting seems annoying rather than menacing, and the final sequence, in which she suddenly gets ready to kill her hated sister, passes belief. The central sibling rivalry shrieks TV movie, but a network rewrite would make that second half more trying for Beth--and less for the audience. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
The deadliest thing about Farell's debut novel is not the deception found therein but the protagonist's incredible thick-headedness. When Manhattan real estate mogul David Methany dies, his adoring 32-year-old daughter, Beth, inherits the presidency of the family corporation. Determined to do David proud, Beth plans to carry out his projects for "a city-within-a-city" in the Bronx. She is unaware that much of his success stemmed from his cold-blooded business tactics--he blackmailed union bosses and harassed elderly tenants unwilling to abandon their rent-controlled apartments. Via flashbacks, readers learn why David never paid for his unethical practices: an unsavory episode involving a DA who was investigating David, the man's wife, and a subsequent tragedy from which David escaped unscathed. Further evidence against David piles up as a bewildered Beth is stalked by a menacing letter-writer and phone-caller known only as "J." Beth's blindless to Daddy's dirty dealings and to the villain's identity does not jibe with her good business sense; for example, when she admits to a confidante her neurotic reaction to white flowers and then, days later, receives such flowers as an anonymous gift, her suspicion fails to fall on the obvious person. Although Farell's exposition and plot are strong, her shallow characters undermine her book.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0671753398