The title “Bloodline” refers to thenfamily-owned nature of the businessnfounded by a Jewish chemist fromnPoland. Intrigue centers around thenefforts to influence Elizabeth Roffe, thenheiress, to make the company stock publicnso various relatives can convert theirnstock into more liquid assets. Most ofnthe book is taken up with flashbacksnwhich reveal why many of the familynmembers on the Board of Directorsnurgently need access to the large sumsnof money possible if they can sell theirnholdings, as gambling debts, an impendingnconfrontation between a wife and anmistress unless one million dollars is paid,netc. are their existential priorities. Accordingnto her father’s will, Elizabeth isnthe only one who can make this decision.nWhen she appears reluctant to do so,nseveral attempts are made on her Hfe.nA computer-tapping, country-hoppingndetective named Max Hornung is equalnto the task of sorting out the nefariousnfinancial dealings of the various directors.nHe eventually learns which relative isnmost desperate and dangerous, and henhelps rescue the heroine from the villainnat her blazing Sardinian villa.nThese business executives are portrayednwith exquisite attention to detailsndear to the hearts of the socially ambitiousnlike what food and wine were ordered atnwhich famous restaurants, details aboutnart objects decorating their many homes,nand the types of sports cars driven.nX he pace of the novel is fast sincenmajor characters keep their passportsnwith them continually and dash about inncompany-owned jets. Stylistically, thenauthor strings together an incredibly largennumber of cliches. Somehow he managesnto maintain your interest by changingnthe location of his characters often andnby sprinkling their situations liberallynwith the salt of sex and the peppernof desperation.nSex scenes include the making of pornographicnsnuff films, an especially sickeningntype of murder. If people generallynhave become so inured to kinky sex andnviolence that they enjoy reading about anwoman’s knees being nailed to the floor.n12 inChronicles of Culturenthis is their kind of a novel. But, then,nChristians had better again beware ofnlions—when Sheldons roam freely onnthe best-seller list, any sadism is possiblenin the jaded, decadent atmospherenthey create.nAside from one murderer being killednin his own trap, there is nearly nothingnof redeeming value in the entire novel.nThe librarian, thus, cannot stop marvellingnat wjiy educated, practical and rationalnAmericans, who support a publishingnindustry that brings out more of suchntitles each year than the rest of the worldnput together, continue to pour so muchnmoney into trash writers’ pockets. Donwe receive our money’s worth in pleasurenfrom such a formula-written, escapistnstory so far from the actual concerns ofnmost of us? Do Americans perhaps regardnone dimensional business tycoons withnthe same compulsive curiosity lavishednon royal families in other countries.’ Isnthere any comfort in demonstrating thatnfor all their wealth, these characters havennot found happiness nor do they evernhave enough funds to satisfy their escalatingnwants? If economic and physicalngratification only spirals on to ever fanciernneeds in one’s public and private worlds,nthen such a treadmill should be questionednby a more influential socio-moralnforce than book reviewing, and the soonernit is done, the better.nJohn Gardner, a well-known fictionnwriter himself, has just completed anserious critical work entitled On MoralnFiction. His standards for judging thenworth of a piece of fictional writingnare: itn”. . . clarifies life, establishes models ofnhuman action, casts nets toward the future,njudges our right and wrong directions,ncelebrates and mourns. It does not rant. Itndoes not sneer or giggle in the face ofndeath. It invents prayers and weapons. Itndesigns vision worth trying to make fact.”nThis recipe for literature must makenthe Sheldons of our time and theirnpublishers cower and jeer at the samentime. But sometime, somewhere a linenmust be drawn and we must begin tondefend ourselves. Let’s start by shunningnSidney Sheldon’s latest trash. DnIn the forthcoming i.ssue of Chronicles of Culture:nCritical Choicesn”… America is now more than ever a pluralistic society. But andangerous myth has been deceptively sustained that the Americannculture is still open to the diversity of philosophical and ideologicalnpropositions, and that they all have an equal chance of being arguednfor and listened lo. In point of faci, the more society, honoring itsninitial promise of equal human rights and opportunities, opens up tonvarious ethnic groups, their traditions and folkloric paraphernalia, thenmore pluralism is expelled from the culture. American culture, oncenthe haven of free consciences and religious variety, has becomenmonopolized by one ideological formation—‘enlightened” andn’progressive’ liberalism.”nfrom CommentnAlso:nOpinions & Views — Commendables — In Focus —nWaste of Money — I he American Scene — Stagen— Journalism — Polemics & Exchanges.nnn