83-year old Benjamin Stillman dies and leaves $8 million to a local synagogue in his will. No big deal, except that no one can figure out where this bookkeeper for a brokerage house got $8 million.
Oh, and there's one other little fact: Stillman was not Jewish and had never even set foot in the synagogue.
A legal wrangle develops and everyone "lawyers up": the synagugue, the brokerage house, Stillman's doctors come up with another will leaving all of the money to their cancer treatment center and there's even a class-action lawsuit is filed by a sleazy lawyer looking to make a name for himself.
Undue Influence was tedious. It started out well but I soon got very tired of all of the legal wrangling. It just got irritating to me and it made me very glad that I did not become an attorney. This book's genre was legal "thriller" but I was tempted just to skip to the end in order to see who got the money and leave all of the tedium behind. I give this book 2 stars out of 5.
Yastrow has another book and I doubt I'll be reading it. He was a former big shot corporate attorney for McDonald's and his name shows up quite often when you search him on Google. Like I said before, he really made me glad I did not become an attorney, assuming his book accurately portrays the legal wrangling.
This book can be found on Amazon here:Undue Influence: A Novel.
Reviewed in February of 2005.