Money Burns Summary

Money Burns

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

If Fiddler had his druthers he would not work for Marianne Bradford Simms. Mrs. Simms is a banker, and the job involves finding out just how much trouble Marianne’s scapegrace yuppie son Brad has managed to get himself into and what can be done to minimize the damage. To Fiddler’s mind, bankers are a plague on society, and Brad is a spoiled brat who should be allowed to destroy himself without parental interference.

Still, Fiddler’s ex-wife and current lover, Fiora, is able to persuade him to place his prejudices in temporary storage. In the course of his investigation, Fiddler learns that Brad is laundering money for a Colombian drug baron, sleeping with a government agent investigating his activities, and trying to recover from cocaine abuse. Meanwhile, Fiddler’s become quite fond of Jaime Ibanez, the son of the drug dealer’s bagman. Fiddler is inclined to let Brad suffer, but, if he is to extract Jaime and his family from the clutches of the sinister Don Faustino and his murderous henchman, he must save Brad as well.

In consequence, Fiddler and Fiora, with the able assistance of the cynical but exceptionally talented Benny Speidel, are compelled by the logic of the situation to undertake a dangerous scheme designed to trade Don Faustino to the “feds” in exchange for freedom for Brad and Jaime’s family. It’s a complicated endeavor involving $15 million, a bomb, a garage door opener, and a great deal of luck.

Newcomers to this series may feel they’ve encountered a Spenser clone. Indeed, Maxwell’s Fiddler does bear a superficial resemblance to Robert B. Parker’s creation. Still, Fiddler is unique, although some may prefer Spenser’s personal reticence to Fiddler’s incessant musing regarding “Uncle Jake” and the past. One thing is certain, however; Fiora is no match for the sensuous Susan Silverman.