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A novel about time by Norman L. Macht.
In a small town in northern California, a disparate collection of characters with conflicting agendas conspires to insure that a dying man does – or does not – live long enough to inherit a $40 million trust created by his deceased grandfather. On one side are the town bookie, the bank president trustee of the trust, and the "alternative lifestyle" friends of the heir, including an eccentric retired dentist who preaches Spinoza in public parks. On the other side: the mayor and city council, the local newspaper, the president of a foundation endowed by the grandfather, and most of the town's residents. In the middle: the patient's semi-retired doctor.
Their maneuvers culminate in an eastward cross-country flight to gain time on the clock, during which the heir dies. The ensuing courtroom battle over the actual legal age of the heir at the time of death pits a flamboyant San Francisco lawyer against a young, idealistic small-town lawyer. Creative tactics and arguments involve the measuring of time, validity of various ethnic calendars, when life physically begins and ends, and ambiguous California laws and court decisions concerning the timing of a legal change of age. It also leads to a romance between the young lawyer and one of the beneficiaries he represents.