Heat of the Sun

Louis Decimus Rubin, Jr., Author
Louis Decimus Rubin, Jr., Author Longstreet Press $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56352-233-8
Reviewed on: 01/01/1970
Release date: 01/01/1955
Writing with the precision of a scholar embellished by the imagination of a natural raconteur, Rubin (The Golden Weather) offers an accomplished novel that treats two eternal themes: love and greed. The setting, Charleston, S.C., in 1940, is fully realized: news travels by newspaper, hurricanes hit with little warning, a college professor can be called a ``Commie Jew'' for teaching the 17th-century poet Andrew Marvell. Young Mike Quinn has taken a reporting job in town because he is engaged to spoiled, flighty Betsy Murray, whose father Turner is a social-climbing construction magnate, as well as mayor pro tem and chairman of the Charleston College board of trustees. As serious-minded Mike begins to question his mismatch with Betsy, he also opens investigations into her father's profitable--and unethical--dealings with a congressman. Murray has also influenced the appointment of N. Joseph McCracken as the new dean of the college; a crude, lecherous interloper, McCracken immediately offends the faculty, particularly Lancelot ``Rosy'' Rosenbaum. Rosy abandons his extracurricular studies of Civil War harbor defenses for true love, at the same time beginning a quiet campaign to expose McCracken as a fraud. Rosy and Quinn's stories intertwine flawlessly, giving the reader pause to contemplate their positions as outsiders without social pedigree. He also enriches the work with erudition that allows a character to make zoological witticisms or read Thomas Wolfe for solace, without detracting from an engrossing narrative. (Sept.)
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