Hotel Author:Arthur Hailey The main character is Peter McDermott, the general manager with a "past" who is trying to redeem himself. Although the lead man, he is only the first among equals as he tries to put out several fires at the same time: The Hotel's unpayable (and unrenewable) mortage is due on Friday, necessitating its sale; the Duke and Duchess of Croydon are hid... more »ing out in the hotel from their responsibility for a gruesome hit-and-run accident; a hotel thief is operating in the building; a group of teen-aged boys create a major "incident" that is aggravated by the fact that they are the sons of the local banker, car dealer, and other town notables. All of these crises are resolved, some more expeditiously than others, and mostly to Peter's satisfaction, although he has to share the spotlight with the perpetrators and others listed above.
The multiple-plot line of Hotel is handled using an interesting modular format. The story is set over a period of five weekdays, Monday through Friday, featuring several events (and "leading characters") each day. This makes for a somewhat disjointed narrative, whose redeeming features are the inherent interest of most of the subplots, and the fact that "multiple causation" is common in the real world. No "channel-surfing" is necessary because the book does it for you.
Hailey's meticulous research means that he is big on telling details, especially regarding the dark side of the hotel: Meg Yetmein, the cleaning lady, "gets hers back" by smuggling out steaks under her clothing toward the end of her shift; Tom Earlshore, the fired bartender, does much the same by "skimming" liquor. There are other, deeper, darker secrets that aren't fit to reveal to a family audience. But there is a lot of good here as well: A super-conscientious furnace man helps solve the Hotel's most important mystery, and the building's most neglected and long-suffering guest steps forward to the financial rescue of the Hotel.« less
Haley is the master of parallel plots that all intersect at once near the end of the book with devastating impact. I have read all of his novels and this one and Airport are definitely the best. Highly recommended. I rarely give 5 stars but this book deserved it.