Quick, fun, easy reading for devotees of high fashion and mystery fans, complete with wrong turns and false friends.

DIVING FOR STARFISH

THE JEWELER, THE ACTRESS, THE HEIRESS, AND ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST ALLURING PIECES OF JEWELRY

The tale of “one of the most captivating and enduring pieces of jewelry,” which would “crawl into the world of collectors and jewelers to enchant and confound them” for more than eight decades.

When Burns wrote a biography of Millicent Rogers (Searching for Beauty, 2011, etc.), she was especially intrigued by one particular item in her subject’s jewelry collection: a hand-sized starfish that featured “71 cabochon rubies and 241 small amethysts.” Certainly expensive, it was more valuable for its rarity and perfection. Only three were originally made in the 1930s and perhaps two more later. The mystery begins with an exclusive jeweler in Paris, Boivin. There, Juliette Moutard had solid relationships with a variety of designers and workshops that met the demand for beautiful and well-designed pieces. They were so special that they were never signed; the jeweler knew that the pieces’ quality would prove their origin. Burns knew that Rogers had one of the starfish and held it for more than 70 years. Another was said to have been purchased by Claudette Colbert, a movie star well known for her magnificent jewels. Supposedly, she lost hers. As she searched for clues to the location of the starfish, the author discovered the very private world of jewelry sales. It is a business that pays little attention to provenance, unless a famous person, like Elizabeth Taylor, owned a particular piece. Equally tight lipped are the exclusive jewelers—e.g., Siegelson and Verdura—and brokers who are approached with pieces when owners suffer a death, bankruptcy, or divorce and must sell. Getting information from top jewelers is a challenge at best. As the author notes, there are other starfish, some with emeralds and sapphires, but the three originals are the subject of a long and frustrating search.

Quick, fun, easy reading for devotees of high fashion and mystery fans, complete with wrong turns and false friends.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-05620-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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