Timothy’s Game

In another age, it was not uncommon for a tailor to offer an extra pair of pants with each suit as an incentive to purchase. Lawrence Sanders has created the literary equivalent of this ploy by combining three novellas concerning the activities of Timothy Cone of Haldering and Company--an organization which provides “financial intelligence” for corporate and individual clients--into a single volume.

Cone is a sartorial slob and a gastronomic goat, but nevertheless possesses a keen insight into the ways in which the financial ungodly attempt to defraud their fellows. Thus, he is quick to discover and eliminate yet another insider-trading scheme with a most original modus operandi, unearths a plan to rig the stock of various corporations for fun and profit, and foils the hostile takeover by the Chinese Mafia of a small family corporation.

TIMOTHY’S GAME offers an assortment of colorful characters calculated to amuse and mystify, a welter of Yiddish slang to expand the vocabulary, and exotic descriptions of Cone’s diet. Nevertheless, just as the tailor’s extra pair of trousers skimped on the cloth, this collection by the prolific Sanders is lean on dialogue and descriptive passages. Still, those who are unfamiliar or somewhat vague about exactly how Wall Street works will find this novel and its predecessor, THE TIMOTHY FILES, a useful fictional introduction to the subject.