Sunday, September 25, 2011
By Donald E. Westlake
Art Dodge is not a good person. He doesn't pay his bills, he cheats on his taxes, he sleeps with his best friend's wife. When he meets a beautiful woman on the beach and finds out she is a twin, he quickly invents a twin brother, Bart, just to get closer to the woman, Liz.
That's where it should have ended. But instead he decides two is better than one and so he pursues the other sister, Betty, as his twin brother, Bart. Betty seems to be smitten by Bart, and before he knows it, somehow Bart & Betty are secretly married.
Now Art knows this is probably one of the stupidest things he has ever done, but Betty and Liz are wealthy and he is enjoying their privileged lifestyle. But after about a week, he tries to break it off with Betty, accusing her of having sex with his brother Art, which she did do, so theirs is not the world's best marriage. Liz makes Art an offer in which she will pay him $10,000 and buy him a car and other perks in exchange for a marriage in name only. It turns out that Liz and Betty are in a dispute over their inheritance from their recently deceased parents and that both sisters have gotten married to strengthen their cases against each other. Art agrees to the deal and soon finds himself married to Liz too. Things are getting really complicated, especially when Liz's suspicious lawyer starts snooping around, trying to dig up dirt on Art and his imaginary brother, Bart.
Nobody in this story is worth a crap except for Art's best friend Ralph, whose wife Art has been doing. Other than poor old Ralph, they all pretty much suck. Liz is a slut and a bitch and Betty is a two-timing, two-faced prig. They don't care about each other and they don't care about anyone else, either. Art is wise ass, a con man, completely unreliable and cares only about himself. Well, it's not very inspiring but reading about Art's antics and the mess he gets himself in makes for an engaging, amusing story.