The Beneficiaries

Pamela Street, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-03796-3
As in The Timeless Moment , Street writes compellingly of the effect the dead have on the living. The will of selfish, beautiful Lady Gloria Rayner, widow of explorer Sir Reginald, leaves the income of her estate equally divided among her daughter, middle-aged divorcee Joanna Lawson; her son, pompous, argumentative Bernard Rayner; her lifelong servant and companion, Mildred Treadgold; and her former lover, retired dress designer Herbert Fane. The last to die will receive the capital. In the months that follow, Bernard, resenting the non-family beneficiaries, seeks to challenge the will and slowly disintegrates into alcoholism; Joanna, happy for her former nurse and developing close ties to Fane, acts to ease tensions, and finds love in marriage to an old friend. Mildred tries to bring the estate and Sir Reginald's papers into order, recalling her hopeless love for the explorer, while Fane faces illness and old age. In the end, family secrets are exposed and deaths result. Street peoples her slim but complex novel with true-to-life characters whose shifting relationships are depicted in graceful prose. ( Feb. )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Hardcover - 322 pages - 978-0-7089-2559-1
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