A sister and brother, both handsome and in their late-20s, inherit 50 million after their parents die in a plane crash. The private Cessna was piloted by Nigel Innes, the father of Frances and Jason. Both siblings are ingenues when it comes to money and investments, so they gladly let an old stock broker friend of their father’s manage the family fortune. Then they embark on what they vaguely plan to be a world tour—to help them adjust to their new life as well as assuage the pain of their parents’ sudden and violent death.
In London they meet Enrico Malloff aka Maalouf , an attractive but wily con man who also happens to be bisexual. Malloff soon sets about seducing both Frances and Jason sexually and financially. Malloff has operated on the fringes of conventional stock promotion for most of his dubious career and he happens on the Innes couple when he is both out of a job and out of money.
Coincidentally, on arriving in London, Malloff also meets up again with an old stock promoter friend of storied swindles and stock manipulations who, through an Establishment front man, has set up shop as an investment dealer. The brokerage firm, which specializes in penny stocks, mainly flogs those securities in which Jack Collin, Malloff’s friend, holds a very big position bought at fire-sale prices. It’s a high-pressure telemarketing operation. The boiler room is humming along nicely, but Collin, like all good stock promoters, is always open to new, especially rich, clients. Thus Malloff and Collin join forces to milk the Innes fortune speedily and mercilessly.
Smooth-talking Malloff insists on chaperoning Frances and Jason to the Continent, and then south to Tangier. Early-summer in Morocco is warm and sunny and highly conducive to romance and sex. Malloff succeeds in his planned physical seductions without difficulty. But both Frances and Jason need more convincing on Malloff’s apparently altruistic plan to make them many more millions and boost their net worth to the heights and magnificence of the super-rich. So they agree to return to London to meet Jack Collin and look over his operation.
Meanwhile. Frances, always a favorite of Ian Hepplethwaite, her father’s old broker friend, persuades him to part with the first tranche of serious money and transfer cash to London in order to buy a sizable share stake in a company called Microtech International Inc., a loss-making, debt-ridden outfit in California which, Collin claims, is on the cutting edge of the latest semiconductor/microchip technology. What Collin doesn’t reveal is that he owns some 90 per cent of Microtech’s shares through various nominees and anonymous offshore outfits.
Collin, aided and abetted by Malloff, loads up the Innes with big wads of Microtech stock. To clinch the final part of the deal—and, as Collin puts it, ‘hand the kids their asses’—Collin sends them all off to his villa in the south of France where, he says, they can stay ‘as long as it takes’ to map out their financial goals and game plan. Malloff adroitly ties the deal up in a week and departs for London and his beloved Nicole, a young girl he has met along the way and who is now pregnant.
Frances and Jason enjoy the lifestyle of the French Riviera for a few weeks, oblivious of the plot to rob them of their inheritance. But Jason falls ill and Frances’ concern for her brother’s health threatens Malloff’s elaborate plans to rob them of their inheritance…
One critic has compared the novel with renowned Polish author
Marek Hlasko’s Killing of the Second Dog, as a ‘novel noir’—with a nod to post-modernism [see reviews].