Dunne, Feb 2004, 23.95, 274 pp.
While traveling to Maine to attend the fourth wedding of his long time best friend painter Webb Hartley, retired literature professor Alec Thompson reflects back on his only marriage that lacked passion and was filled with abstinence until Harriet died a decade ago. At Webb's farmhouse, Alec learns that his pal suffered a heart attack and died. Webb leaves behind a grieving stunned Pru and their small daughter. He also left a request for Alec to inform his first wife Jenny Grant that he died. Alec would prefer not to as Jenny was his only true love. Decades ago in Baltimore, Alec caught Webb and Jenny in a compromising position. He fled before his roommate and his beloved could explain.
Reluctantly Alec honors Webb's wish traveling to Jenny's Santa Barbara horse ranch to break the news to her. A saddened Jenny tells Alec that he was her only love and that what he saw was his best bud consoling her following her discovery of a corpse. He will learn a lot more about their triangle and life.
Though well written, this reviewer could not understand why Alec and Webb remained friends and why if they were best buds didn't Webb force Alec to listen to the truth. Once fans accept that relationships seem unnatural, SPLENDID OMENS is an intriguing tale as each key person and several secondary players met on Alec's quest seem real and add depths to the plot. Alec the narrator is the center of the morality tale as he ponders what could have been if he handled the pivotal moment of his life differently.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner