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Fatal Charms by Dominick Dunne
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Fatal Charms

by Dominick Dunne

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"Fatal Charms" is a collection of essays written for Vanity Fair magazine, dating to before Mr. Dunne found his niche as a writer of fictionalized "true crime" novels. Most of the essays consist of portrayals of wealthy celebrities whom Dunne has interviewed or otherwise encountered, including Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Imelda Marcos, Diane Keaton, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Candy Spelling. The first essay is a sobering, personal account of the murder case of Dunne's daughter, and the botched trial that allowed her killer to walk free after a minimal sentence of three years. The last essay deals with the case of Claus von Bulow (who most likely murdered his wealthy wife and got away with the crime). These two essays prefigure the focus Dunne adopted soon thereafter, on rich celebrities (like OJ Simpson and Michael Skakel) who have tried (and often succeeded) to use their wealth and status to avoid prison sentences for murder.

"Fatal Charms" is unlikely to be of much interest to current readers beyond the essays on Dunne's daughter and the von Bulow case. (Both of these essays are collected in "Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments"). The celebrity portrayals are gossipy and superficial, and at times fawning and flattering. Perhaps Mr. Dunne was too star-struck to offer a balanced portrayal, or maybe he wanted to retain access to the celebrities with which he hobnobbed. In any case, this collection is revealing of his new career as a writer, when he had yet to settle on the "true crime" genre that soon became his primary focus. ( )
4 vote danielx | Oct 25, 2013 |
Very enjoyable book by Dunne ( )
  latinobookgeek | Mar 9, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034543059X, Paperback)

Dominick Dunne has met them all--stars and slugs, criminals and victims, the innocent and the hideously guilty--and now his two provocative collections of Vanity Fair portraits are in one irresistible volume. From posh Park Avenue duplexes to the extravagant mansions of Beverly Hills, from tasteful London town houses to the wild excesses of million-dollar European retreats, here are the movers and shakers--and the people who pretend to be.

Among colorful profiles and revealing glimpses of Elizabeth Taylor, Claus von Bülow, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Aaron Spelling, discover who dumped an heiress the night before the wedding to run off with the best man . . . what happens when the ex-husband of a movie legend becomes president . . . why a beautiful singer fell in with the mob . . . and, in Dunne's most personal story, how a lying murderer and a limelight-loving judge denied justice to his family after his daughter's life was brutally destroyed.

Filled with pathos and wit, insight and sass, this candid, controversial volume gives you an extraordinary peek into the rarefied world of the rich, the royal, and the ruined. For Dunne is the man who knows all their secrets--and now those secrets are out.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:36 -0400)

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13 essays.

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