MURDER AMONG THE MIGHTY: Celebrity Slayings That Shocked America by Jay Robert Nash

MURDER AMONG THE MIGHTY: Celebrity Slayings That Shocked America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Routine, superficial write-ups--most of them only 5-to-10 pages long--of 28 murder (or attempted-murder) cases involving rich or well-known people. Nash (Bloodletters and Badmen, Dillinger, etc.) starts off with a quick runthrough of the 1870s killing of Big Jim Flak; and many of the tales that follow are equally familiar, some of them even the subjects of full-length books. There's Harry K. Thaw shooting Stanford White, of course--with lots of nasty words for that ""clever vixen"" Evelyn Florence Nesbit. There's the unsolved death (accident? murder?) of Hollywood actress Thelma Todd, the Luna Turner/John Stompanato stabbing (Luna tells it far better in her recent memoirs), the killing of Ramon Novarro by homosexual hustlers, the evil doings of Candy Mossier. And, from more recent times, as Nash's skimpy treatment becomes ever more irresponsible: the murder of Allard Lowenstein (Nash seems unaware of many of the psychological issues involved); the death of ""playmate"" Dorothy Stratten (a recent TV-movie version had more depth); Claudine Longet, Claus von Bulow, Sal Mined, John Lennon. . . and, inevitably, Jean Harris. (Shana Alexander's new book will be reviewed next month.) Working primarily from trial transcripts and newspaper files, Nash contributes no fresh perspectives; his primary energy goes into sarcastic comments about the wrongdoing here (including Luna Turner's love-life). And the limitations both of his prose and his psychology are reflected in these words on Arnold Rothstein: ""Along with his iron will Rothstein reveled in his superego. . . ."" Sensationalistic short-takes--slim in content, short on style.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1982
Publisher: Delacorte