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Social Crimes: A Novel
     

Social Crimes: A Novel

4.3 24
by Jane Stanton Hitchcock
 

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New York Times bestselling author Jane Stanton Hitchcock's Social Crimes is a riveting thriller of manners, obsession, and revenge that scales the heights and plumbs the depths of the New York social scene.
 
When Jo Slater, one of New York’s premier socialites and a patron of the arts, befriends a French countess, she ignores

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Jane Stanton Hitchcock's Social Crimes is a riveting thriller of manners, obsession, and revenge that scales the heights and plumbs the depths of the New York social scene.
 
When Jo Slater, one of New York’s premier socialites and a patron of the arts, befriends a French countess, she ignores warnings from friends about the mysterious newcomer. Soon, the young woman knocks Jo off her Park Avenue throne. But using her knowledge of the greatest historical swindle of all time—a true story involving Marie Antoinette—Jo sets out to reclaim her fortune and her place in society.
 
For the plan to work, however, she must resort to the most desperate of measures: murder. Social Crimes is a savvy social satire bursting with money, betrayal, and passion that will thrill readers of sophisticated mysteries.

Editorial Reviews

New York Observer
Sophisticated entertainment for readers with a taste for luxury and a peeping-Tom urge to spy on high society.
DailyCandy.com
The story has all the perfect page-turners: mystery, double-crossing, aristocracy, and murder...drippingly good beach reading.
Avenue
There is enough real-life inspiration for the fictional characters to keep cocktail parties from Martha's Vinyard to the Hamptons abuzz all summer.
Newsday
An amusing and highly readable X-ray of Manhattan's smart set. Hitchcock does a smashing job...her clever and funny.
New York Times
Beyond an elaborate plot featuring a swindle involving Marie Antoinette, Social Crimes doubles as a primer on decorating and entertaining dos and don'ts gleaned from the gilded set Ms. Hitchcock knows so well.
People
(A) killer read...this deliciously dark novel sneaks a knowing glimpse at a gilded world.
— (Selected as a Beach book of the week)
New York Daily News
In Social Crimes, Jane Stanton Hitchcock sets out to bring New York's high society low, and she does in a witty little book that taxes only the rich.
Publishers Weekly
How does Hitchcock's amusing saga differ from the scads of books involving money, murder and high society? There's the economy and wit of her prose ("murder was never my goal in life," heroine Jo Slater begins), and then there's Jo's awareness of how silly the upper crust is ("if you're nice and you lose all your money, you're out. But if you're a sh-t with a private plane, you're in"). Playing on the tried and true theme of the older wife being dumped for the young miss, Hitchcock (Trick of the Eye) offers a funny, lightweight tale. Jo is living the life: she's married to a billionaire, owns a sumptuous apartment in Manhattan, a rambling home in the Hamptons and a magnificent collection of 18th-century art. Things are just perfect until pretty young thing Monique de Passy enters her world (seemingly as a friend), Jo's husband dies, and Jo learns that he's left his estate to none other than the charming French countess. What follows and constitutes the bulk of the book is Jo's attempt to frame Monique as a seductress and murderer. Her approach is, for the most part, honorable. Jo is smart and has plenty of connections, and even though her financial situation becomes dire after her husband's death (she takes cabs instead of limousines and wears old couture dresses to parties), she holds her head high and eventually triumphs. Hitchcock's prose is airy and her plot moves quickly, making this a quintessential beach book. (June) Forecast: Readers of Diane Johnson's Le Divorce and this season's bestselling The Nanny Diaries will lap this up. Come summer, Social Crimes is likely to show up in tote bags and on cabana tables from Boca and Bridgehampton to Beverly Hills. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Ruth Rendell meets Dominick Dunne in this deliciously dark and witty novel about social climbing and murder. When husband Lucius dies of a heart attack under rather sordid and suspicious circumstances, prominent New York socialite Jo Slater is shocked to learn that he has left his sizable estate, including the Southampton mansion and Fifth Avenue apartment, to a mysterious French countess. Exiled from the kingdom of money, power, and privilege, Jo struggles to rebuild her life only to find herself thwarted at every turn by the countess. From working as a Park Avenue interior decorator to selling "wholesale carpets and hotel furnishings on Lexington and 26th Street," Jo quickly slides down the social ladder until she hits rock bottom, buying a pair of Hush Puppies (on sale) for her aching feet: "Symbolizing my ugly new life of drudgery and hopelessness, those Hush Puppies were just about the most depressing purchase I had ever, ever made." Obsessed with recovering her fortune and place as queen of "le tout New York," Jo concocts an audacious scheme of fraud and murder. Can she pull it off? For sophisticated readers wanting the perfect beach read, Hitchcock's third novel (after Trick of the Eye and The Witches' Hammer) offers a bubbly cocktail of psychological suspense and social satire. Strongly recommended for popular fiction collections. Wilda Williams, "Library Journal" Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lukewarm tale of suspense about an obsessed Manhattan woman who grows as evil as her nemesis. Celebrating her birthday in Southampton, Jo Slater, at "a certain age," appears to have it all. Once a steakhouse waiter, she now stands next to her husband, Lucius, worth $200 million. She thrives in Manhattan's art scene and counts many friends. But, alas, image misleads. At the party, Jo meets a fawning Countess Monique de Passy. Lucius turns testy, and Jo soon learns what everyone, including the reader, already knows: Lucius and the Countess are having an affair. Interrupting their cabana tryst, Jo so startles Lucius that he suffers a fatal heart attack. She subsequently learns her husband had changed his will, leaving everything to Monique. Poor Jo loses the Southampton estate and the Fifth Avenue condo. Worse yet, Monique cleverly foils Jo's every attempt to start a new life. Ambling home one night after a bleak day spent selling carpet, Jo drops in at the posh King Cole Room to splurge on a drink or two. A woman who just happens to look like Monique also drops in, and Jo's four-year-long obsession to strike back at Monique crystallizes into a plan: Jo will hire the woman in the bar, an escort named Oliva, to pose as Monique. The faux Monique will consult a lawyer about filing a will, which will return Lucius' estate to Jo. Of course, for Jo to collect, Monique must be dispatched. Jo hatches a jerrybuilt scheme that culminates in Monique's death-the Countess dives over a balcony grasping at a million-dollar necklace Jo dangles before her. Jo returns triumphant to the social whirl, while in some dark place Oliva waits to claim her due. A Hampton breeze that rarely chills. Hitchcock (Trickof the Hammer, 1994, etc.) misses the psychological insight that can make readers squirm with empathy.
Christopher Buckley
“Foie gras, champagne, a famous pearl necklace, and socialites at each other’s throats. What more could you ask for? Great fun.”
Marie Brenner
“Thrums with wicked wit and an insider’s view of court life in the Manhattan and Southampton of the twenty-first century. Hitchcock has seen it and lived it and shares all. She has a keen eye and a perfect ear.”
New York Post
“Hitchock’s mysteries are savvy social satires and well-constructed clocks, ticking down to nail-biting climaxes.”
Washingtonian
“This novel’s got everything—passion, betrayal, money, obsession, murder. It’s the book Patricia Highsmith and Edith Wharton might have written together.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062206565
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/26/2012
Series:
Jo Slater , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
526,376
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Social Crimes


By Jane Stanton Hitchcock

Warner Books

Copyright © 2003 Jane Stanton Hitchcock
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61672-9


Chapter One

MURDER was never my goal in life. I'm a very sentimental person at heart. I cry in old movies. I love animals and children. I'm a pushover for a beggar in the street. So if anyone had told me five years ago that I could have willfully and with malice aforethought killed a fellow human being, I would have said they were crazy. But life has surprises in store for all of us, not the least of which is the gradual discovery of who we really are and what we are capable of. However, allow me to dwell for a moment on the last evening of what I think of as my innocence.

It was a perfect Southampton night, warm, clear, starlit, with a gentle breeze blowing in from the ocean. I was standing at the head of a small reception line, greeting guests at a birthday party being held in my honor. I can see my friends and acquaintances now in my mind's eye, filing past me, bristling with jewels, faces aglow with the hollow confidence that only money can bring.

I was deep in the world oxymoronically known as "New York Society," where the fish are bigger and the water is colder, or the fish are colder and the water is bigger, depending on your point of view. It was a world I felt entirely at home in. I was Mrs. Lucius Slater-Jo, to my friends-wife of one of the richest and most prominent businessmen in New York.

People described me then as a "socialite," a label I loathe. It cast me in a lurid and ridiculous light, implying a life of privileged frivolity where everyone flits around from one party to the next wearing calculated clothes and expensive smiles. I would have preferred "social leader," since distractions like the gala that night were only part of a more substantial milieu in which I played a significant role: a world of money and power in general, and, more specifically, the governance of the great institutions of New York.

I understood better than anyone that Dick Bromire, my host, was slightly using me to polish up his tarnishing reputation. A gregarious real estate magnate and a figure of note in the cozy older social circles of New York, Dick was facing indictment for income tax evasion-a charge he vehemently denied.

Standing in line next to Dick, I watched him out of the corner of my eye. A beefy man of sixty-five with a moon face and a jaunty manner, he was clad in a white dinner jacket, greeting the arriving guests with a handshake and a slightly automatic grin.

"Good to see ya, good to see ya, thanks for coming, thanks for coming," he said over and over without pausing to chitchat. Being at the center of the scandal du jour, he may have been afraid of inviting any probing comments.

His gruffness was, as usual, softened by the charm of Trish, his much younger wife, a sporty blonde from Florida who looked as if she had a mean backhand but whose real idea of an athletic afternoon was cleaning out her closets. She stood next to her husband, showing off her bare, well-toned midriff in a striking outfit of gold lam? harem pants and a short matching top. Her heavy emerald and diamond earrings, custom-made by Raj, a reclusive Indian jeweler whose unmarked shop in Paris was Mecca for the gem-loving rich, reminded me of military decorations from some defunct Mittel-european monarchy.

My husband, Lucius, and I had known the Bromires for years. Lucius and Dick were old golfing buddies. Lucius had helped Dick get into the National years ago. Trish was a member of my summer reading group-an extension of the late Clara Wilman's New York reading group-the "Billionaire Reading Group," as it was facetiously referred to by envious outsiders because all the women in it had rich husbands and because between our discussions of Proust, Trollope, and Flaubert, the stock tips were reputed to fly faster than a covey of quail.

The Bromires had always been extremely kind to us, but it was when Lucius had his heart attack three months prior to my birthday party that night that they really came through. Dick put his helicopter at our disposal to transport Lucius from Southampton to New York. Dick and Trish had both kept me company-along with my best friends Betty Waterman and June Kahn-in the depressing fluorescent hallways of New York Hospital during my long vigil when I thought Lucius might die.

"I may not remember, but I never forget" is my motto, and I felt very badly for Dick now that he was the target of a criminal investigation. I was letting him celebrate me (even though several of my friends had warned me to "steer clear," as they put it) because I liked him, pure and simple.

Since I have no children of my own, my friends are like my family. I stick by them even when it's inconvenient to do so. This is something I learned as a girl growing up in Oklahoma. "United we stand, divided we're screwed," is what my father always said. We may have been unsophisticated back there in the panhandle, but God knows we were loyal.

Trish Bromire visibly preened at the appearance of Miranda Somers, whose presence at a party signified to our little set that we were in the right place. Miranda Somers, a canny beauty of indeterminate age, is society's cheerleader. She writes a column for Nous magazine under the pen name "Daisy." Nous is society's scrapbook, dedicated to fashion, celebrity, and making social life appear fun, even on those frequent occasions when it's more tedious than jury duty. Miranda sprinkles stardust plus a soup? on of satire on the events she covers.

She was on the arm of Ethan Monk, a curator at the Municipal Museum, another one of my closest friends. The Monk, as he is referred to in the art world, is a blond, bespectacled, boyish-looking man whose wholesome midwestern looks are complemented by an appealing affability. Ethan is knowledgeable without being pedantic. He knows more about eighteenth-century French furniture than anyone in America, and he helped me shape the collection Lucius and I donated to the museum. I adore Ethan for many reasons, not the least of which is that he's never averse to a light spot of gossip here and there-though he refuses to make it the carrion feast it is for many of our friends.

Trish fawned a little too hard over Miranda and Ethan, neither of whom have much patience for obvious flattery. They soon moved on to me. Miranda air-kissed me in her famous Miranda way so neither party's hair or makeup is ever spoiled. "Honey, you're a real trouper," she said. Next I saw my darling June Kahn waltzing toward me, looking like a middle-aged Sugar Plum Fairy. June's quest to appear ever youthful had taken a macabre turn in the form of a pink organza dress more suited to a third grader in a ballet recital than a petite, dark-haired woman of fifty. As she hugged me, she said, "You look fabulous. Isn't the tent divine? Just like a big glowing onion. Who's here? Who's coming? Oh, my tootsies ache already!"

June was at concert pitch that night, strung taut with the excitement of the party, her eyes stealthily on the move like a pair of heat-seeking missiles in pursuit of celebrities. Suddenly hitting a target-a well-known newswoman who was also a prominent New York hostess- they brightened and she was off. I found June's weakness for famous people endearing. She reminded me of a little girl in a poodle skirt straining to get her autograph book signed by an oblivious star.

Trailing behind his wife in line was Charlie Kahn, June's husband, a slim, aristocratic-looking, silver-haired man of sixty. He gave me a thin smile and a nervous squeeze of my right hand, which was the way he always greeted June's friends. Charlie reminded me of a timid dog who was wary of being petted.

"So where's the big man? Still alive, I trust?" he said.

"Alive and well, Charlie, dear," I replied. "Just not up to standing in the receiving line."

"It's like I always say: You can't take it with you, but if you have enough of it, you don't go!" he said, referring to Lucius's recent brush with death.

He laughed. I didn't.

Next to come through the line was Betty Waterman.

She leaned in and whispered, "You can take the girl out of the harem but you can't take the harem out of the girl, what?" eyeing Trish Bromire's Arabian Nights getup. I thought this remark a bit pot and kettle-ish given her own choice of outfits. Betty, a robust redhead, was a standout that night in a banana yellow caftan heavily embroidered with a gold and blue bib.

"This outfit weighs a ton," she said, attempting to adjust the shoulders with both hands. "Gil says it makes me look like Tutankhamen."

Gil, her husband, was right on the mark. I helped her align the costume but it still looked funereal.

I knew the Watermans had some sort of French countess staying with them and that Betty had asked Trish Bromire if she could bring her to the party at the last minute. Dear Trish, who had privately complained to me that very afternoon about the inconvenience of having to rearrange the seating, was secretly pleased to accommodate a titled lady.

"So where's the Countess?"

"With Gil," Betty said. "We took separate cars because I want to leave early. I have a tennis game at the crack." She spread her arms out in a gesture of welcome and cried, "Hello, rat fuck!" as she walked toward the crowd. The reception line dispersed. I strolled into the tent to check on Lucius. He was easy to spot because he was the only man in a black tuxedo. The invitation had specifically said "white dinner jackets" for the men, "festive dress" for the women. But Lucius refused to wear white, proclaiming, "White is for waiters and corpses." Lucius always did as he pleased. I admired that about him. He was not as mindful of other people's opinions as I was.

I found my husband seated on one of ten small gold ballroom chairs at a table near the dance floor. He smiled and chatted as a steady stream of friends dropped by to pay him court and say hello. As I neared, I overheard a few awkward pleasantries concomitant upon the return of a man who had recently been snatched from the jaws of death: "Wonderful to see you in such good shape, fella!" "You look great, guy!" "I better watch myself on the golf course, kiddo, now that you're all recovered!"

All lies.

The truth is Lucius looked like hell, a shadow of his former robust self. The athletic and elegant older man I had married, who had kept his youthful looks and boyish vitality well beyond the normal span, was now frail and wan. Having lost more than thirty pounds, he looked like a scarecrow. His shoulders, elbows, and knee joints jutted out like hangers under the black fabric of his now very loose-fitting tuxedo. His face was gaunt and gray, the keen shine of his navy blue eyes dimmed by bouts of pain and fear. Lucius's brush with the Reaper had failed to humble him in any significant way, however. He still had the slightly sour, imperious air of a deposed monarch.

"Where the hell have you been?" he said. "In the receiving line." "All this time? Jesus."

Like many rich men, Lucius wanted a wife who constantly catered to him in a variety of ways: part nanny, part sexpot, part ornament. It was often a daunting task. Ignoring his irritated tone, I bent down and gave him a peck on the cheek.

"How are you holding up, my darling? Seeing lots of pals?"

"All the usual suspects. If you want to know the truth, I'm ready to go home." "So am I. But we can't."

I noticed he was drinking champagne and I plucked the flute from his hand.

"Sweetheart, you know what the doctors said." The doctors had warned us: "No sex and no booze," for the time being.

"I'll sit with you," I said, pulling up a chair close beside him. My first priority was always Lucius. The minute I acquiesced to him, he softened his tone. "No, Jo. You go circulate. It's your night. Enjoy it."

The fact is I didn't care much for big parties and I would have much preferred to sit and talk with my husband.

As the guest of honor, however, I knew I had an obligation to my host and hostess.

"This too shall pass, my darling," I said.

I gave Lucius a knowing wink, strapped on my social toe shoes, and danced off into the crowd.

The candlelit tent was a sea of round dining tables dominated by tall glass vases overflowing with flowers and ribbons. An orchestra played the butter-smooth melodies of the High Debutante era. The lucite dance floor, embedded with seashells, was lit from beneath and for some unfathomable reason it seemed to float above the wooden floor like a futuristic magic carpet. It was the only modern touch in view. Pretty as it was, the party felt somehow lumbering and out of date, like a majestic old galleon. It had a heavy, Old Economy feel to it. And that's what I liked about it. It was mercifully familiar, anchored in a time that seemed now almost as remote as its spiritual forebear, the Gilded Age.

People had flown in from all over the world just for this occasion. Many of them weren't even staying the night. Their private planes and chauffeured cars were standing by waiting to take them back to wherever they came from as soon as the evening was over, or before if they were bored. Bobbing up and down among the crowd, I saw almost everyone I'd ever known. In some ways, it felt like drowning-or what drowning is reputed to feel like-in that my entire life was flashing before me.

The amis mondains were out in full force. I should mention here that I divided my circle of acquaintances into two basic groups: real friends and amis mondains. My real friends were the people I genuinely liked. Amis mondains-"worldly friends"-were the people I cultivated strictly for the sake of social life, not because I especially liked them or because they especially liked me, but because we were all players in the same game. Though we all competed with one another nonstop, it still made us feel secure to hang out together. Money and, most particularly, the way in which we liked to spend it-in pursuit of the unique, the rarefied, and the extraordinary in art, in luxury, and in life-was the connective tissue that bound us all together. We smiled and laughed and gossiped among ourselves at the various festivities we all went to, but-and in New York, nothing counts until the but-we rarely missed a chance to "dish" one another in private.

Friendly and charming as always, the amis mondains treated Dick and Trish Bromire as if nothing were amiss. Quite the contrary, they all gave Dick assurances of their support. Yet I knew that even as they ate his hors d'oeuvres and drank his champagne, they were speculating on the particulars of his impending downfall. I overheard snippets of conversation like, "Do you think he'll be indicted?" ... "Did you see that ghastly article on him in the Wall Street Journal?" ... "They say the Feds are really after him," and so on and so on. Some people were downright nasty about Dick, but their alibi for not missing this big, splashy party, of course, was that they had all come, not for him, but for me.

Dick was wounded game, in danger of losing his reputation and, worse-far worse-his entire fortune. I hated it that he was being stalked by gossipmongers in his very own house, but such is the way of social life in New York: Live by money, die by money.

I played my part, smiling and greeting everyone graciously, pretending to be oblivious to the provocative whispers circulating about our dear host. Many people told me how well I looked that evening. They may have just been being polite, of course, but I was pleased nonetheless. For the past few months I'd been under a great strain and, as everyone knows, stress always takes a toll on one's looks. Lucius was not an easy patient, to say the least. Organizing round-the-clock nurses was difficult enough. But when Lucius didn't like a particular nurse, he ordered her out of the house on the spot, which forced me to either find a replacement on a minute's notice or else sit with him for eight hours at a stretch myself. We managed to get through the worst of it. Lucius was feeling much better. Caspar, our chauffeur, had become his regular attendant. I was grateful Lucius was recovering, but I was still tired and anxious about his health, so it was nice to hear I didn't show it.

If I had to describe myself then, I should have said that I was an average height, attractive woman of a certain age, well preserved by my own dedication to discipline and enough money to take advantage of the latest beauty developments. I had a full, round face, a fair, even complexion, and a sprightly walk that gave me the air of a younger woman. Favoring a neat, stylish appearance over a softer, more flattering one, I wore my straight blond hair short, sculpted over my head like a helmet. My best feature, so everyone told me, was my inquisitive, tealcolored eyes. Though I was showing some signs of aging-a few wrinkles here and there, a loosening of the skin around the neck and jowls-I'd not yet dared a facelift, fearing the startled alien look cosmetic surgery had thrust on several of my friends. I always chose plain but well-cut clothes. I was not a beauty, by any means, but there were days when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, "Well, it could be worse." If my mannerisms were a bit studied at large gatherings, it was because I've always felt self-conscious in crowds.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Social Crimes by Jane Stanton Hitchcock Copyright © 2003 by Jane Stanton Hitchcock.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

William Safire
It's the novel to watch for best-sellerdom in 2002.
Marie Brenner

“Thrums with wicked wit and an insider’s view of court life in the Manhattan and Southampton of the twenty-first century. Hitchcock has seen it and lived it and shares all. She has a keen eye and a perfect ear.”

Marie Brenner
Jane has put her eye on the glass of New York...
— author of Great Dames
Susan Cheever
If you combined the dark imagination of Patricia Highsmith with the social savvy of Truman Capote, the result might be Social Crimes. A gripping story of betrayal and murder in the Park Avenue set, Jane Hitchcock's wonderful new novel will keep you enthralled to the last exhilarating page.
Dominick Dunne
Jane Stanton Hitchcock has set her riveting tale of obsession and revenge in the highest financial tier of New York society. She writes with the perception of one who knows her territory well. The conversations are witty, lethal, and right on target. There will be a guessing game as to which character is based on which social figure in the highly publicized existence of this rich, rich group of people, but, believe me, this book is much more than that. It kept me up very late at night.
Christopher Buckley

“Foie gras, champagne, a famous pearl necklace, and socialites at each other’s throats. What more could you ask for? Great fun.”

Meet the Author

Jane Stanton Hitchcock is the New York Times bestselling author of Mortal Friends, The Witches' Hammer, Social Crimes, and Trick of the Eye, as well as several plays. She lives with her husband, syndicated foreign-affairs columnist Jim Hoagland, in New York City and Washington, D.C.

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Social Crimes 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great bedtime read riddled with people you love to love or hate. Pure escapism from our troubled world and it won't give you nightmares when you turn out the light. I had read Hitchcock's second book first ('One Dangerous Lady') that has most of the same characters in this novel but beware...if you read that one before 'Social Crimes,' you'll know the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a quality read a step above the usual inane bestsellers that seem to be so prevalent lately. The weaving of French history throughout was delightful. It succeeds in presenting a case for the notion that evil-doers may often feel very justified in their actions, and may even view themselves as basically honorable. And, in my opinion, many of the wealthy class are prime examples of this folly. Bravo to the author of this clever book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in spite of some negative reviews I had read and now wish I had followed their advice. I thought this book would be a light and easy read, but it is dark and the 'heroine' has no redeeeming qualities. I was very disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't even waste your time on this book. It's completely awful, the main character is just wretched and hell bent on revenge. What she ends up doing and gets away with is just truly disgusting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It started very slow and I was thinking to give up on it. Then suddenly picked up and took a nice turn. However, ending I thought was a disaster as Jo Slater never learned her lesson and just went back to being very selfish materialistic self. It is OK reading, not riveting!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read a book that you wanted to re-read immediately?? I hadn't, until I read this book. From start to finish I was captivated and felt like I was living in Jo's world. DO NOT pass up this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The first chapter caught my attention and I didn't want to stop reading. I stayed up late reading many nights. Great book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say that I thought this book was going to offer a riveting ride as per the NYT. As I continued to read, I realized that the story that leads to the ending is so much more sophisticated than the plot and ending. I was extremely dissappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've read. It captures you in the first chapter and keeps you in suspense throughout the entire book. Great summer read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was so wonderfully delicious! I hated when I had to put it down. I hated seeing Jo knocked from her 'thrown' but she made it back to the top and I don't care how she had to do it!! I almost hated for the story to end. I felt like I missed Jo when I finished the book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is revenge at its best.If you are from NYC you will want to think this character is based on so and so. You might be right. This is just a fun book suited perfectly for the beach especially The Hamptons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down at night, even after dealing with 2 small children all day. I had no idea the ultra-rich in New York live like this. It was truly entertaining and eye-opening. I LOVED it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank you for giving me such an entertaining way to spent a few days of my precious summer vacation. I gasped out loud at some of the outragous behavior of the characters and cried for the very sad situation Jo found herself in as an outcast. It was a fun trip to New York. P.S. Jo, Thanks for the memories!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so entertaining. Let this book take you away to an exciting atmosphere. You won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic read. Don't pay attention to reviewers who trash the main character for her selfish behavior. If you pick up a book that clearly states it's about the social elite, don't act surprised when you read about what their life is actually like. It's rather naive to think anything different. Of course these characters would be selfish and materialistic; did anyone really believe they were going to read about rich women who did charity work all the time and only had sex with their husbands on the weekends while trying to find a cure for cancer? Book/Movie/Entertainment reviews are supposed to be about the structure of what you have just viewed or read and how the story works, pointing out the richness of the characters and so forth. This is not about trashing the morals of the characters and trying to put your own views out there to garner some undeserved attention. You're actually taking away from the point which is ridiculous on the face of it. This book was written with a flawless, fluid hand and Ms. Hitchcock should be praised for her efforts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a new author for me. After reading I immediatley ordered her other novels.
GingerGoeres More than 1 year ago
Social Crimes is about a wealthy, spoiled and completely naive woman name Jo Slater. Jo marries a wealthy older man that promises nothing other than financial security. Despite the parties mingled with the elite of New York, Jo claims to be so much more grounded and humble. She is not. When her gluttonous wealth is stripped away, Jo's life becomes one pathetic attempt after another to regain the life she once possessed. Now broke, overweight and gasp...middle class, Jo finds herself so consumed with bitterness and anger that she begins obsessing how she can both regain her wealth and social status and quench her thirst for revenge against the woman who stole it all out from under her, the Countess. Her arch nemesis, The Countess Camille De Passy, has basically stepped into Jo's role as New York's social lioness. This is a story that plays as the ultimate revenge, but instead it becomes so much more..or less depending on how you look at it. The story moves at a quick and interesting pace. I was never bored but I was never amused either. Even though Jo Slater is supposed to be the heroine of the story, I found her to be pathetic, naive, shallow and utterly shameful in her attempts to regain her wealth. She never aspires to be anything more, just a rich woman with a lavish lifestyle. I don't think anyone is supposed to actually feel sorry for her or like her. Good. We don't. The antagonist, Camille, becomes the more interesting and diabolical character. I like her. She may be a cold blooded creature but at least she has a plan that works.for the moment anyway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was FANTASTIC!! At first, I didn't think I would like it, but by chapter 2 I couldn't put it down. Definitely a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Always love to read about high society acting like the scums they are. Very dishy
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jo Slater has risen to the top of New York society. Not that this seems anything admirable, considering how author Hitchcock portrays the people in this group: silly, narcissistic, shallow, and generally useless. Even their charities have to be 'fashionable', and hefty donations are just another means of social climbing. Nonetheless, Jo, who actually seems like a fairly decent sort, is delighted to be a part of it all - never mind her deep dark little secret as to how she managed to vault into such a privileged position. When a beautiful young interloper arrives on the scene and proceeds to steal everything Jo has worked so hard for, it is time for revenge. My only quibble with the story, as gripping as it is, is that it takes so LONG for Jo to begin really working out her revenge. For three-quarters of the book we watch as her rival subjects her to one humiliation after another, until I was as exhausted and depressed as Jo. The plan, when implemented, seemed almost anticlimactic to me. The author has some great commentary about the pointless lives many of the wealthy live, and how important it is that they maintain them. Supposedly the reader should be 'guessing' who is really who in the story, but unless you follow the society columns (I don't), who cares? It's still a good story, and I highly recommend it as the perfect beach book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful character development, great summer read!