Review: Other People's Money by Justin Cartwright
'OTHER People's Money' by Justin Cartwright is an entertaining novel set inside a failing private bank in London and among the family who own it.
Cartwright is a clever writer who often manages to capture the spirit of the times and he does so again in this book.
Other writers have tried to capture the financial crisis with mixed results, including the usually skilful Sebastian Faulks.
Cartwright has succeeded where others failed for two reasons. The first is that, unlike most novelists, he is not hostile to the idea of making money. The second reason is that the main characters are all realistically likeable -- there are no cardboard villains here.
By peopling the books with entertaining but slightly mad characters, the author keeps the reader genuinely interested in the fate of the 340-year-old Tubal & Co bank, which has been brought to its knees by the inexperience and greed of the chairman Julian Trevelyan-Tubal, who still receives daily letters from his father Harry despite a debilitating stroke.
A good plot is enhanced by good writing. Cartwright is an excellent descriptive writer who understands irony well.
His other books show that he can master almost any topic by diligent research and 'Other People's Money' is no exception.
Whether it is a description of flying to Liechtenstein to withdraw money from a secret account or the crazy hopes of a hysterical playwright who is doomed to keep staging 'Thomas the Tank Engine', Cartwright strikes the right note.
A healthy interest in sex and other pleasures helps the book to fizz along at a cracking pace that makes for to a quick read.
Readers of the Irish Independent's business pages are sure to draw parallels with the shenanigans that went on here and wish that we had a novelist as talented as Cartwright who was also prepared to put in the research needed to capture the crisis in a similar fashion.