A Man of Genius by Lynn Rosen
An ambiguous tale with two sources, Carlyle Richards and Arthur Dolinger.
Arthur Dolinger, a senior partner in his law firm, assigns Carlyle Richards to convince the widow of a revered architect to have an unexpected codicil to his will read aloud. So far, the widow has refused, asserting that her husband's original will (which leaves his famous home Upuna Rose to her) is all that matters.
Unhappy with her assignment in the first place, Carlyle finds herself enchanted with Upuna Rose and the beauty of its style and surroundings. She is also instantly drawn to the widow, but cannot understand Elizabeth's reluctance to have the codicil read aloud to her. If terms aren't met, Elizabeth will forfeit Upuna Rose.
Some years later, Carlyle finds Arthur Dolinger seated alone at a business retreat and tells him that she is still uneasy about the entire situation that transpired. She tells her story, and intrigued and curious, Arthur decides to delve into his own memories and attempt to solve some of the mysteries surrounding Samuel Grafton-Hall and the codicil to his will. Was a murder actually committed?
The descriptions of the novel refer to moral decisions and whether or not genius should be excused of crime. By genius alone should consideration be granted? While it is true that moral questions concerning excusable genius are called into play and beg deliberation and reflection, I found the most interesting questions to be more in the line of "are things done to us?" or "do we allow (or choose, as Arthur mentions) these things to be done?"
It is a fascinating novel, dealing with the egotistical, but visionary architect Samuel Grafton-Hall, his wives and lover, his hubris and self-inflated personality, his total inability to consider others, except in relation to himself. Help or hindrance? He has no deeper emotional connection to another human being.
The story moves from past to present, focusing on two characters at a time (for the most part) with one character always being the flamboyant, egotistical Samuel.
I think it is inescapable that Rosen drew partly from events in the life of Frank Lloyd Wright, but Samuel Grafton-Hall's story is more Gothic.
I was engrossed from beginning to end. User or used, who lived, who died, status quo or criminal liability?
Scheduled for April 6, 2016.
Psychological/Mystery. April 15, 2016. Print length: 246 pages.