Goodreads asked Alan Cheuse:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Alan Cheuse I found the essence of the story in an article in the New York Times in the early nineteen seventies about the funeral of a multi-millionaire New York business man, an ordained rabbi from Long Island named Eli Black, who had risen in the world to become head of the international United Brands company and then leapt from the 44th floor of a Midtown Manhattan office building. He had been exposed as having paid over a million dollars a month to the head of the Honduran government in exchange for special tax credits for the company’s banana plantations
A man with a religious calling who had climbed so high in the world of business that his fall seemed spectacularly devastating—that incident stayed with me, in my mind and in my heart.

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