Paul Theroux, one of the world’s most popular authors, both for his travel books and his fiction, has produced an off-beat story of 1960s weirdos unlike anything he has ever written. During the time of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, Herbie Gneiss is forced to leave college and get a job, and he lands one at the Kant-Brake toy factory, which manufactures military toys for children. His income keeps his chocolate- loving mother, who tips the scales a smidgeon over two hundred pounds, from starvation. Mr. Gibbon, a patriotic veteran of three wars, also works at Kant-Brake. When Herbie is drafted, Mr. Gibbon falls in love with Herbie’s mother and they move in together at Miss Ball’s rooming house. Since Herbie is fighting for America
, Mr. Gibbon feels that he, too, should do something for his country and convinces Miss Ball and Mrs. Gneiss to join him in the venture. They decide to rob the Mount Holly Trust Company because it is managed by a small dark man who is probably a communist. There are some complications, including Herbie’s death in action, Miss Ball’s jealous Puerto Rican lover, and a few unavoidable murdersnot to mention three people over sixty pulling off a bank robbery in broad daylight.
Combine Donald E. Westlake with Abbie Hoffman, add a bit of Gore Vidal at his most vitriolic, and you get Murder in Mount Holly.