The Embezzler is too good to be memorable.

The Embezzler is the story of a man, a society, and an era.

Of the three, only the society and the era are memorable.


The Embezzler by Louis Auchincloss

Houghton, Mifflin, 1966, 277 pp. 1966 bestseller #9. My grade: B+.


Embezzler dust jacket has title in red against stock market page of newspaperGuy Prime belongs to a Manhattan family who claim society membership because their forebears married people who were distinguished.

Guy has a talent for making people like him, which, he realizes, is as big an asset as brains or ambition.

Guy’s best friend, Rex Geer, lacks even Guy’s marginal social credentials, but he makes up for them in brains, hard work, and integrity.

Rex goes into banking, Guy becomes a stockbroker.

In the depths of the Depression, Guy uses stock belonging to clients as collateral for three of his ventures.

Setbacks in 1936 bankrupt Guy.

His attempt to avoid bankruptcy leads to discovery of his embezzlement and five-years in jail.

Louis Achincloss allows Guy to tell his story, then gives Rex and Guy’s wife, Angelica, opportunity to tell their versions.

All three are over 70, recalling events 35 to 55 years earlier: It’s unlikely that any one comes close to an objective account of who Guy was.

Readers will forget Guy quickly, like a jigsaw puzzle that might have pictured either Mount Hood or a basket of kittens.

© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

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