When the Husband Is the Suspect
by F. Lee Bailey with Jean Rabe
271 pages, hard cover
ISBN - 13: 978-O-7653-1613-4
Twenty cases of uxoricide, many highly publicized, told in a very factual manner by a lawyer recently voted in a poll by The National Law Review as America's most admired lawyer.
Cases include those of Sam Sheppard, Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald, Claus von Bulow, O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Scott Peterson - all done "in a measured overview of these marquee-worthy instances of alleged uxoricide." F. Lee Bailey "was not only an eyewitness but an actual participant in some of the most watched trials of the twentieth century."
I found his discussion of the O.J. Simpson trial worth the price of the book. Why? We all know that Simpson was guilty and got away with murder. How do I know? Well, everyone I talked with said so, and the papers agreed.
I was amazed at Bailey's observations. It was a totally different picture of what all of us know. He commented on sloppy reporting that really convicted Simpson before he even went on trial. He dealt with the murders, the time line, the famous slow-speed pursuit, Simpson's career, family, Nicole, Ronald Goldman, the trial of the century, the district attorneys, the dream team, highlights from early in the trial, later highlights, evidence that the jury saw but was not reported in the press, alternate theories on the murders the civil trial and beyond. He compares the tidal wave of the Dr. Sam Sheppard case to what engulfed Simpson. He commented on what created the anti-Simpson bias, and Bailey tells why he believes Simpson was innocent.
I found his comments interesting enough to switch from "I know Simpson is guilty" to shockingly "perhaps he was innocent." I would love to hear comments from those of you who read Bailey's account
The Diana Chronicles
by Tina Brown
Paperback 592 pages
Tina Brown has done the best, most detailed, and intelligent bio of Princess Di that I've read.
"...the first time the former Tory MP Gyles Brandreth met the Princess, in the early 1990's they began by talking about her teenage devotion to Cartland's fiction. She told him, "In those stories was everyone I dreamed of, everything I hoped for." "A Cartland rescue fantasy follows and unchanging formula" - a fact that I found tiresome. Tina damned Cartland's writing as "...prose that rots the brain."
"Children faced with grave emotional distress often cling to a fantasy figure or a magical friend." It took a fantasy village to sustain Diana. Her addiction to romance novels became a diabetes of the soul, leaving her spiritual bloodstream permanently polluted with saccharine.
"She clung so tenaciously to her dreams that they became a willful act of unknowing. In the cad-about-town James Hewitt she saw only the dashing cavalry officer; in the serious and private cardiologist Hasnat Khan she saw the heartthrob doctor who would be by her side in Florence Nightingale missions; in the coked-out playboy Dodi Fayed she saw the liquid-eyed Arab sheik who would whisk her away on a magic carpet."
Diana asked Dr. Colthurst if he thought she had a chance with Prince Charles. "She said, 'it could be quite fun. It would be like Anne Boleyn or Guinevere.' I said, 'I bloody hope not'" He thought Diana was always on a dream path. When Diana turned up for a work session with a Barbara Cartland romance tucked under her arm, Mrs. Robertson hoped "it did not represent her only reading interests. How could this fit with Charles ..., a man famed for his taste for weighty authors such as Carl Jung and the mystical travel guru Laurens van der Post? Mrs. Robertson tactfully suggested that Diana upgrade her reading and perhaps even 'scan The Times or the Daily Telegraph each day to learn a bit about current events if you want to keep up with Prince Charles.' ... Robertson was worried that Diana's infatuation with 'wonderful, perfect' Charles was 'based on her romantic image Of him, not on the man himself.'"
"In 1993, when she herself was ninety-two, Barbara Cartland put it this way: 'The only books she ever read were mine and they weren't awfully good for her.'"
There was much discussion about how not to invite Raine and her mother to Diana's wedding. Diana herself didn't want these two theatrical ladies to create a pantomime. One version had Cartland struck from the guest list. Another said she would be seated behind one of the big pillars in St. Paul's Cathedral. To save face Cartland threw a party for the volunteers of St. John's Ambulance, a health care organization. (Fifteen years later, the "Queen of Romance" made a succinct judgment on the reasons for the marriage failure. "Of course you know where it all went wrong. She wouldn't do oral sex."
The Enchantress of Florence
by Salman Rushdie
Hard cover, 349 pages
The opening of Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence reminded me of Barbara Cartland's magic formula of gorgeous scenery and gorgeous people. I asked Rushdie whether he had ever read Cartland, and he answered no.
On Thursday, June 12th, Rushdie spoke to 150 people at the Elliott Bay book store in Seattle, and then that same night to hundreds at the Town House. Writers like Elliott Bay because of the warm reception and respect they receive there.
Rushdie is an excellent speaker and very funny. He opened by saying he didn't understand why he was asked to speak at the tulip festival, and then found and read to us the passage in his book about tulips - leading to one character's securing love because his pj's had tulips embroidered on them.
During questions, I told him about writing a book review of Satanic Verses and sending him a copy c/o Emory University where I understood he was to be. He seemed not to have received my review. I told him that I compared his wit and sense of humor to that of Shakespeare's, and he said, "Oh, how modest." The room roared.
Even more so when he responded to a question about the reaction to the death threats over Satanic Verses. He said he was described as being in hiding. However when he came to the states he was put into the middle of an eleven car motorcade. Five in front, his white armored Cadillac, and then five behind, with police clearing a path through the city.
He asked one of the security guards why they didn't give him a used Buick, a car that would be less conspicuous. "Oh, this is the way that we do it," was the answer. "What if you had the President of the United States to protect?" "Same thing. However we would have armed guards on top of the roofs. That would be more conspicuous."
Rushdie said that he felt as though he was in jail, and in looking out the car's window and seeing people having coffee at outdoor cafes, he wished that he could be one of those people. He said that it was a mistake to think that such treatment was glamorous.
The Enchantress of Florence has an amazingly large cast as in Midnight's Children and Satanic Verses, much magic, and many beautiful women. Rushdie looked at us with the same love as he gives his people in his works. I sat in the first row center, wearing a very bright glowing green top, rather like a traffic controller. As he waited to be introduced he looked at me and smiled. He treated everyone with the same charm. I highly recommend going to hear him speak when you can. I should have compared his intelligence to Shakespeare's. He is certainly special.
Five Novels: Moon Over Eden, No Time For Love, The Incredible Honeymoon, Kiss The Moonlight, A Kiss In Rome, one volume
by Barbara Cartland
First 3 books: 1976, 4th 1977, 5th 1992
Originally all five in 1992
Barbara Cartland has written over five hundred and sixty one books, and holds The Guinness Book of Records as the bestselling author, having sold over six hundred and twenty million copies all over the world. She was invested by her Majesty the Queen as a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in 1991.
A biography of Princess Diana mentioned that she and Barbara Cartland are related, and that Diana was a keen fan of her books, reading many, many of them. If so, I can understand why she would have trouble in establishing a good marriage.
The five novels seemed to me to be adult fairy tales. All men were real princes or perfect role models of what a prince should be like. They were all the most handsome, the bravest, the strongest, and most passionate types of their group. Two knew exactly where to find the would-be rapists and were able to defeat him by their mere presence. In one case by his approach up a mountain, the hero caught the rapist and the lady was able to knock the villain off the bluff to his death.
The love scenes are gooey, but are none-the-less Victorian proper. Cartland does have some good twists. One gal had only 21 days to live but was able to attract a super wealthy man, a multi-millionaire or billionaire, I forget which. She does run around a lot in spite of being so ill.
Easy reading. Good relaxation. Cartland doesn't demand much from her readers. Several times when couples kiss, the man causes them to float to the skies and they become gods. Ah me!
The truth is shown by dancers. If a man likes to dance, he may be good or pleasing as a partner. Rare is the international, competitive type, and is in an entirely different class. If a woman ever experiences an A++ lover, she'll know there should be a world class for him. He's also very, very rare - an entirely different class from the average, gals. Wish you happy hunting.