Set in the American Southwest, the Caribbean, and Switzerland in the present day, Last Train From Mendrisio is a novel about financial life after death or, more specifically, the battle for inheritance that ensues when an old tycoon dies in mysterious circumstances.

    The tycoon in question is Trevor Thomson, a "successful, money-grubbing, red-blooded American of Scottish descent and rich as hell," who, at the beginning of the story is fast approaching his ninetieth birthday. Trevor falls, or is he pushed? from a train traveling at high speed over Lake Lugano in Switzerland. With no children of his own, the bulk of his fortune, an offshore trust fund established in the 1960s on the Caribbean island of Grand Turk, seems destined to go to his step-children, Sam and Judith. But an attractive young "mulatto" woman, Felicia Fountain, appears on the scene claiming to be Trevor's rightful heir.

    The novel's distinctly playful and tongue-in-cheek feel and the taut, snappy dialogue that the authors give to a range of creditable and interesting characters is very much in keeping with the bold, sweeping style of the piece.


Winning Strategies: There are a number of reasons why this book succeeds. Like all good writing, the authors know their subject. They obviously have traveled extensively, and their descriptions are detailed and accurate. They also realistically portray various dialects, from Swiss to Caribbean. The art that they bring to this book, however, revolves around their ability to tell a good story, with interesting characters, while maintaining dramatic tension. Their foreshadowing, irony, and use of double entendre is also quite nice.

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