MAGNIFICENT MASQUERADE: The Strange Case of Dr. Coster and Mr. Musica by Charles

MAGNIFICENT MASQUERADE: The Strange Case of Dr. Coster and Mr. Musica

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Jekyll-Hyde echo of the subtitle is quite apt in this recreation of the life of the impostor Philip Musica who rolled up an $87,000,000 corporation fortune while posing as ""Dr."" F. Donald Coster and whom the Times applauded editorially with the comment: ""He was Frank Donald Coster, one might say, as Maurice Evans in Hamlet,"" He was a rogue, sadist, swindler, fraud and genius, who manipulated and smashed other people's lives (nearly getting one man falsely electrocuted at Sing Sing) while doting his mother, brothers, sisters and wife. Musica, born in the swarming Italian Chetto of Lower New York, quit school early, got his first job at fourteen, and by twenty was grossing a half million annually and keeping company with Caruso. His first money came from bribing customs guards about the weights of the Italian delicacies he imported. Discovered, he was popped into jail for six months. Out, he started up a corporation (phantom) based upon importing human hair. He got enough money (phantom) together to get onto the stock market. Discovered, he was popped into jail for three years. Out, he started up a drugs corporation (real), or rather bought one out, set up subsidiaries (phantom) and was on his way into the big money (real) while posing as Dr. Coster with a Heidelberg M.D. degree (phorged). At the crest of success in 1938, the was unmasked and shot himself. Fiendish fun with a phenomenal phony in the charmacy.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1964
Publisher:  & Wagnalls