World War II veteran Tom Rath has killed 17 men. This is one of the most interesting things about himself that he considers putting into his one page autobiography the Broadcasting Corporation requests he submits as part of his job interview. He gets the job after blowing off the task, and enters a world where he’s not sure what his answers should be– appeasing the boss and assuaging feelings or telling the honest truth. This struggle takes him through most of the book, where he finally decides on truth, and his life becomes straightened out.
He had a few months during the war, living with a woman (Maria) in Rome, the outcome of which was a son. When Tom runs into an old army buddy runining the elevators at the Broadcasting Company, he finds out that Maria is in trouble and needs money. Eventually Tom tells his wife Betsy about the whole mess (see above for the epiphany on honest truth).
Tom inherits a large estate of his grandmother’s, but the old servant presents a claim that postdates the will; honesty prevails when Judge Bernstein investigates and discovers that the servant has been cheating the grandmother for years.
All in all, a bit too simple and moralistic for my taste, but a quick and delightful read. Oh, and I like his mantra that soothes him when anxious:
“It doesn’t really matter. Here goes nothing. It will be interesting to see what happens.”