1975 1st year edition; Farrar Straus Giroux publishers, New York; hardbound in mustard and brown boards with gilt stamp lettering along spine; Book Club Edition; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
KIRKUS REVIEW -
Pearls around the neck -- stones upon the heart"" -- the old proverb couldn't apply better than to Bertram Ogden/Bertie/Birdie Royceman, only scion of a fabulously rich art collector-banker, who dropped out early in the competition against his father. He's always felt nothing -- like less than nothing. Now at the death of the old man, the will has been carefully rigged by a lawyer who calls him a piss-ant (""at least it's hyphenated"") so that most of the estate will become a museum. Including the Ingres and the Degas which had been promised him -- this hurts. Bertrie is left with the option of doing something for once by attempting to break the will (the Straw Man of the title which is a ""jerk-off device"" and detour en route to debatable legal complexities) or initiating several disruptive actions against the collection itself (from roaches to arson).
Barbara Goldsmith's not always orderly novel has several things going for it: the matte Finish of great wealth; the art world, which has been the best game in town; a nice romance with the gamine Brenda who is anxious to show Bertie that life is feeling; maverick verve and considerable humor. . . . A smart entertainment -- patronize it.