``Dead or alive, the magic of Elvis lives on'' claims the original dust jacket of this British import, emblazoning the words above a close-up of the King—a deliciously ironic sentiment given that here, as in his earlier books, Parker (Prince Philip, 1991, etc.) does his best, none too successfully, to stir up mud. Parker's angle is that the rock star may have been murdered by the Mafia, a conclusion he builds on stilts constructed primarily of previously unreleased interviews with Elvis associates (interviews not conducted by Parker), as well as of info gleaned from his ferreting through 663 pages of the ``FBI general file'' on Elvis. Parker digs out little that's not been revealed before, though he does highlight much that's not well known: particularly that J. Edgar Hoover began tracking Elvis as early as spring 1956, and that Elvis suffered constant money problems that, in 1976, prompted his father to succumb to a scam involving the leasing of the singer's jet—a scam that soon came to the attention of the Bureau. Moreover, this scam allegedly was only a small part of a multimillion-dollar mob operation that was threatened when it became ``likely that Elvis and Vernon Presley...would be required to give testimony at [an] eventual trial.'' Parker dregs up the many minor mysteries surrounding the star's death—including the locking-away of the autopsy report—to support his case. Throughout, the author also manages to provide a lurid account of Elvis's decline into drug-decay, and speculates that his 1970 Oval Office meeting with Richard Nixon prompted—through the singer's envy of the Beatles—Nixon's persecution of John Lennon. Not bad as a concise chronicle of the superstar's dark side, but Parker's case that Elvis may have been murdered will convince few—after all, we all know that he's hiding out in Kalamazoo.... (Forty-two b&w photographs)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-85470-039-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Collins & Brown/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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