AT YOUR SERVICE by Desmond Atholl

AT YOUR SERVICE

Memoirs of a Major Domo
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Further adventures in smugness by the aloof major-domo, or household manager, who told about the riotous horrors of his life with Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue in That Girl and Phil (coauthored with Cherkinian, 1990). Atholl's favorite game as a child born into the English aristocracy was to lay out place settings for a great dinner, attend to decorations, and make everything party-perfect as if for royalty. His skill was famed, and in his teens he entered into domestic service in England--a career not looked down on there as it is in the States, and one that required encyclopedic knowledge of every department of housekeeping, from arranging linens and cutlery and flowers to handling the staff and choosing furniture and wallpaper. After running his own nightclub for two years, Atholl became a full-time major-domo to fabulously wealthy jet- setters and Arab princes and Wall Street zillionaires. One of his most recent jobs was as major-domo for Asher Edelman--the suggested model for Michael Douglas's Gordon Gekko character in Wall Street-- a man, Atholl says, with a $100-million art collection, a supremely expensive but nasty wife, and an equally costly Brazilian mistress. Atholl has usually quit the service of bachelors who marry, since he is seen as a rival intimate by the new wife. Prince Rashid, a Saudi, required Atholl to oversee the expenditures and management of a string of residences whose daily upkeep sat nicely beside the interest on the US national debt, and also to procure beautiful boys in every port. Readers aware of various famines will feel nauseated as Atholl describes how colossal egoists and parasites burned mountains of money to watch the flames. Aside from an apparent moral blindness about everything but good manners--a very droll read.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-08137-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1992