THE BANK AUDIT, by Bruce Marshall (Constable llis.) RiRLICE MARSHALL is a "taste," acquired or natural. The present reviewer has never been able to put down a Bruce Marshall novel once he has started it.
This has held good with "The Bank Audit," despite the fact that the theme of the story is built around the complex details of chartered accountancy which might just as well be higher Einsteinian mathematics so far as comprehension goes. It seems to be a remarkable tribute to a nosel to confess that, despite this handicap, one just had to go on reading. Perhaps Mr. Marshall's Catholic novels have a similar effect on atheists and agnostics who do not understand a word of theology and liturgy.
T.HE author himself was once a
British chartered accountant working in Paris, and it is fun guessing which parts of the characters among the team of juniors in this story are autobiog. raphical. In this story of the search for a thief among the employees of a bank whose accounts are being audited, at the period of the Stavisky scandals, what matters is not so much the plot as the compassionate, Christian mind of the author who sees his characters as, above all, human beings: weak, sinners, pitiable, yet God's creatures with the spark of divinity within them to be crushed, ignored, or painfully kept alight. Some readers will, as usual, see irreverence in Mr. Marshall's treatment of the sacred, but for our part we know of no contemporary fiction writer who can better bring home in a visual, earthy way how God works in the souls of greater or lesser sinners, greater or lesser'misfits-and thank God they are misfits-in the cold, hard world of business and success. M.B.