Too Much Money [NOOK Book]

Overview

The last two years have been monstrously unpleasant for high-society journalist Gus Bailey. When he falls for a fake story and implicates a powerful congressman in some rather nasty business on a radio program, Gus becomes embroiled in a slander suit. The stress makes it difficult for him to focus on his next novel, which is based on the suspicious death of billionaire Konstantin Zacharias. The convicted murderer is behind bars, but Gus is not convinced that justice was served. There are too many unanswered ...

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Too Much Money

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Overview

The last two years have been monstrously unpleasant for high-society journalist Gus Bailey. When he falls for a fake story and implicates a powerful congressman in some rather nasty business on a radio program, Gus becomes embroiled in a slander suit. The stress makes it difficult for him to focus on his next novel, which is based on the suspicious death of billionaire Konstantin Zacharias. The convicted murderer is behind bars, but Gus is not convinced that justice was served. There are too many unanswered questions, and Konstantin’s hot-tempered widow will do anything to conceal the truth.

Featuring favorite characters and the affluent world Dunne first introduced in People Like Us, Too Much Money is a mischievous, compulsively readable tale by the most brilliant society chronicler of our time—the man who knew all the secrets and wasn’t afraid to share them.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
Mr. Dunne left behind one last, stinging roman à clef. And he most assuredly used it to settle scores. Too Much Money pits his autobiographical character, Gus Bailey, against the New York nouveau riche types of its title. And it keeps Gus constantly aghast at their gall. It commemorates Mr. Dunne's favorite obsessions—crime, wealth, status, backbiting and power—into a story with a distinctly valedictory flavor
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
For every striver who claws his way to the top of the moneyed heap, another must fall from grace to make room; in the work of late novelist and journalist Dunne (1925-2009), those falls are usually preceded by a vigorous shove. In his final novel, the players include grande dame Lil Altemus, banking heiress (and suspected murderess) Perla Zacharias, and flight attendant-turned-jetsetter Ruby Renthal, alongside journalist Gus Bailey (Dunne's minimally-fictionalized surrogate). A sequel to 1988's People Like Us based on Dunne's real-life experiences as a society crime writer, Dunne brings an expected level of intimacy to his unflattering look at New York's wealthiest citizens, incorporating his own spectacular Hollywood fall from grace and subsequent comeback, as well as his legal standoff with a congressman whom Dunne implicated in the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy. A fitting cap to Dunne's notable career, this novel is more parody than satire-populated by jeer-worthy caricatures hard to sympathize with-but proves to be a compulsively readable diversion, showcasing Dunne's razor wit and furious disdain for those who believe that laws apply to everyone but themselves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A vindictive multibillionairess tries to suppress a seasoned raconteur's lust for life, not to mention his tell-all new novel, in this posthumous roman a clef by Dunne, who died of cancer in August 2009. Dunne's narrator (and alter ego) Augustus Bailey writes for glossy gossip magazine Park Avenue and pens bestselling novels and "true crime" starring the globe's most glittering grandees. A born confidante, "Gus" attracts secrets like Beluga draws partygoers, but he can be a blabbermouth. On the radio, he blithely blurts a preposterous rumor implicating Congressman Kyle Cramden in the disappearance of Cramden's lovely intern, provoking an $11 million slander lawsuit. Gus, 84, fears the litigation will bankrupt the estate he hopes to leave his children. His only hope is Infamous Lady, his novel-in-progress, which dredges up the nagging questions still surrounding the death of ALS-afflicted superbanker Konstantin Zacharias in a fire at his Biarritz villa. Zacharias' widow Perla was never a suspect, and she'd like to keep it that way. Now the third richest woman in the world, Perla has the "too much money" of the title: enough to eliminate any threats to her reputation by far less civil means than lawsuits. Like having Gus tailed by a man in gray flannel, pressuring his publisher to scuttle Infamous Lady and digging up a bogus allegation of pederasty to blackmail Gus into settling the Cramden suit. Stress dampens Gus's joie de vivre, and he's no longer everyone's favorite bavardeur at society functions peopled by disinherited socialites, ex-convict financiers, centenarian doyennes and declassee divas. Gus's dilemmas find too-easy solutions, because Gus, as did, perhaps, his creator, realizesthat imminent mortality trivializes one's worst fears, that life is too short not to speak truth to power, and that he'll be somewhere money and revenge can't reach when his last novel comes out. On full display here, Dunne's (Another City, Not My Own, 1997, etc.) jaded eye for the foibles of the ultraspoiled, his stylish wit and eavesdropper's ear-they are among the many reasons he is sorely missed.
From the Publisher
"The only person writing about high society from inside the aquarium."   —Tina Brown

"Readers mourned Dunne's passing in August 2009, bereft at the thought of life without his keen novels and incisive Vanity Fair profiles...But Dunne grants us one more good read...[his] glittering high-society satire harbors sorrow at its heart as [his] burdened hero ponders his secrets and regrets."—Booklist

"On full display here, Dunne's jaded eye for the foibles of the ultraspoiled, his stylish wit and eavesdropper's ear—they are among the many reasons he is sorely missed."—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307591456
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/15/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 256,441
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

DOMINICK DUNNE was the author of five bestselling novels, two collections of essays, and The Way We Lived Then, a memoir with photographs. He was a special correspondent for Vanity Fair for twenty-five years and was the host of the television series Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

A few years ago there was a rumor about me that I had been murdered at my house in Prud'homme, Connecticut, by a cross-country serial killer of rich older men. Of course, it wasn't true, although it was a rumor that lingered for awhile. Gus Bailey was dead. There was indeed a serial killer at the time, who was very much in the news. He had just killed a couturier in Miami who was so famous that Princess Diana and Elton John and his husband attended the funeral in Milan. I confess now to have been the person who started the rumor. I couldn't figure out how to finish a novel I was writing at the time, and I wanted desperately to leave the next day for the Cannes Film Festival with Stokes Bishop, my editor at Park Avenue magazine, who assured me in advance that I was to be seated between the French film star Catherine Deneuve and Princess Olga of Greece at the magazine's party at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes. I didn't want to miss that. So I just grabbed the headline news of the murder in Miami and added Gus Bailey to the killer's list, thus ending the novel, and I flew to France. Do I regret having done that? Yes.

My name is Augustus Bailey, but I am called Gus Bailey by everyone who knows me. It happens that I am often recognized by strangers on the street, or in public places, and even those people call me Gus. I only use Augustus Bailey on my passport, my driver's license, the covers of the books I write, my monthly diaries for Park Avenue magazine, and the weekly introductions on my cable television series, Augustus Bailey Presents, which I host. I thought it best to tell you a bit about myself, before I get into the story that I am about to tell. It should be pointed out that it is a regular feature of my life that people whisper things in my ear, very private things, about themselves, or others. I have always understood the art of listening.

The characters in all my novels are based on real people, or combinations of real people, and they are often recognizable to the readers. Many of the ones who recognized themselves in the books became livid with me. If you could have heard the way Marty Lesky, the Hollywood mogul, who has since died, yelled at me over the telephone. There was a time when I would have been paralyzed with fear at such a call from Marty Lesky, but that time has passed. It made him more furious that I was not writhing with apologies, but the dynamic between us had changed over the years and I no longer feared him, as I used to fear male authority figures, going all the way back to the terror my father inspired in me as a child, but that's another story. I've lost several friends over my books. One I missed. One I didn't.

Losing the occasional friend along the way goes with the writer's territory, especially if the writer travels in the same rarefied circles he writes about, as I do. In time, some people come back. Pauline Mendelson did. She was a very good sport about the whole thing. Mona Berg did, sort of. Cecilia Lesky did. Maisie Verdurin adored being a character in one of my books and bought fifty copies to give as Christmas presents. Others didn't, of course. Justine Altemus, my great friend Lil Altemus's daughter, never spoke to me again. Only recently, Justine and I were seated side by side at a dinner dance at the Colony Club, celebrating Sandy Winslow's 90th birthday, and we never so much as looked in each other's direction for the hour and a half we were table companions.

Now I intend to give myself a party on the occasion of my upcoming birthday, a milestone birthday, which I must confess I never thought I would reach, especially in the last two years of stress and high anxiety, leading to a heart malfunction and hospital stay. This was all caused by a monstrously unpleasant experience involving some monstrously unpleasant people, who had no place in my life and took up far too much time in it, particularly when the years left to me are dwindling down to a precious few, as Walter Huston used to sing.

But it is a fact that the fault was mine. I fell hook, line, and sinker for a fake story from an unreliable source. I thought I had the scoop of my career, and I made the fatal mistake of repeating it on a radio show of no importance, and the consequences were dire. If you must know, I accused a Congressman, former Congressman Kyle Cramden, of knowing more than he was admitting about the case of the famous missing intern, Diandra Lomax. I made a mess, I tell you. I try hard not to think about it, and as of late, my attention has been focused more on party planning. When my birthday party list grew to over three hundred, and I was only at the P's, I realized I would have to rethink things. I know entirely too many people. Although I have several very serious enemies in important positions, I hope not to appear immodest when I say that I am a popular fellow, who gets asked to the best parties in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris, and goes to most of them.

I decided to limit my party to eighty-five people, which is the age that I will soon be. It is so difficult to hone my friends to eighty-five. It doesn't even scratch the surface. Eighty-five, in fact, really means forty-something, with wives, husbands, lovers, and partners, making up the other forty or so. There will be hurt feelings, to be sure. That's why I don't like to give parties. I go about a great deal in social life, but I never reciprocate. The spacious terrace of my penthouse in the Turtle Bay section of New York City, where I have lived for twenty-five years, has a view of the East River, and could easily hold a hundred people or more without much of a squeeze, but I have never once entertained there.

I feel now, however, as if I deserve a party. I have emerged from the dark cloud that has hovered over my life for several years. The unpleasantness is, thank God, behind me. Hence the desire for a celebration, although my birthday party will never take place, as you will find. Things happen. Everything changes.

I've noticed that concurrent with the growth of my public popularity, there is a small but powerful group of people who are beginning, or have already begun, to despise me. Elias Renthal, still in federal prison in Las Vegas as this story begins, is one of my despisers. Countess Stamirsky, Zita Stamirsky to her very few friends, is another who despises me after I refused to write about her son's suicide from a heroin overdose while wearing women's clothes at the family castle in Antwerp.

And, of course, there is Perla Zacharias, allegedly the third richest woman in the world, who had me followed by investigators trained by the Mossad in Israel, and falsely claimed that I had been involved in an act of child molestation at the Empress Eugenie Hotel in Biarritz during her husband's murder trial. That's the kind of person Perla Zacharias is. That's the kind of story she spreads.

I have written about all these powerful people in Park Avenue, or in a novel, and earned them eternal enmity. Their time would come, I always thought. Elias Renthal knew what he was screaming about when he said, They're going to get you, his face all red and ugly, as he pointed his finger in my face, only moments before he collapsed on the floor of the men's room of the Butterfield Club.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Life Among the Wealthy and the Worthless

    I've never quite understood Mr. Dunne's obsession with the denizens of New York City's high society. This is basically a repeat of his earlier books....the reader keeps company for 275 pages with the morally challenged and undeservedly wealthy who have little to do but go from one dinner party, lunch, or charity gala to another. Once at these venues, they talk endlessly about other dinner parties, lunches, etc. and who did or said what to whom. People with infantile names like Dinkie, Dodo, Kay Kay, Winkie, and Figgy (I am not making this up) hold vapid conversations with all the depth of a parking-lot puddle. And this is what the entire book is about - empty-headed nitwits and their hangers-on yakking about each other, celebrating their own social status, and doing anything to hang on to it. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would want to attain these "heights" of society, where the air is less rarified than rancid. I'd be kicking and screaming to get out. If the author meant this to be a send-up or skewering of these self-absorbed folk, it doesn't happen - this reader was just weary of their company by the end of the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Sorry Farewell

    Dominick Dunne's last book could have been a hale farewell, but, at least in my opinion, he should have left well enough alone. A Roman a clef can be loads of fun when done well, but here I see a rush job that gave little thought to the reader. Sure, he skewers here and there, but little of it resonates. It can be easy to poke fun at the rich, so the measure of a good writer is the one who refines it to an art, where the skewering has a sizzle to it that the average writer can't attain. Dunne has shown that he can do it, why else so many ruffled feathers at his previous books? Here, it just doesn't seem that his heart was in it. Too Much Money is formulaic and trite. Sorry to say.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    If you love Dominick Dunne, you must read this (his last) book

    Dominick Dunne died in 2009. He left us with his last book, "Too Much Money". If you're a fan of Nick Dunne's writing, you'll be happy to re-meet Gus Bailey and his cast of wealthy misbehaving characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Boring

    I liked the references to old-school social climbing but one character blended into another. Too much same-old/same-old and did not measure up to Dominick Dunne's previous books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mr. Dunne skewers the rich and famous.

    Park Avenue magazine gossip columnist Augustus "Gus" Bailey knows better than to open one's mouth on an unfinished story, but he does on the radio. Gus accuses Congressman Kyle Cramden in the disappearance of his intern. Outraged, Cramden sues Gus for slandering him and demands $11 million.

    An octogenarian, Gus fears his big mouth will leave his family with nothing when he dies. He turns to his other occupation, a novelist writing Infamous Lady based on a real homicide. While someone has been convicted of murdering wealthy banker Konstantin Zacharias who suffered from ALS in an arson fire at his Biarritz home, his beautiful widow Perla was never considered a person of interest by the cops. Gus' inquiry bothers Perla who inherited a fortune so has become too big to fail at annihilating others. Rather than litigation, Perla uses amoral tactics to destroy Gus.

    The fascination in this entertaining novel is Dominick Dunn's lampooning his other vocation as a gossip crime columnist having no real meaning especially when defending your life at the heavenly weighing station (kudos to Albert Brooks). Although the exaggerated portrayals of the key characters are over the top of the Empire State Building and adversely impact the extremely thin plot, fans of the late author's column will enjoy the hyperbole as Mr. Dunne skewers the rich and famous.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    we have lost a great author

    as usual it was a great read

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Dunne's last book disappointing.

    Labored writing, seeming not edited well, this was not his finest. Disappointment.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Dominick Dunne was one of a kind

    This author drags you into the story from page one. Once you start reading you enjoy the tale he tells in a way that leaves you wanting more. I have read all his fictional work and am truly sorry that he is gone.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    i enjoy all of dominick dunne book but perhaps he had written a little to much about the same group of people not as entertaining as some of his other books.

    a good rainy day or beach read but not one of dunnes best

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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I wanted to like this book.

    I tried hard to like this book. Nothing really happens in this story. The plot was cliched and predictable and I all I could think about while reading was "who cares about these dull, loathsome people?"

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    You let us down!

    I was so glad that Dunne wrote one last book before he left us, but sorry to say he should have left well enough alone. This reads like one of his Vanity Fair articles, just way more confusing! Can't even finish the book, I've lost interest and have no clue, or care, who he is even talking about anymore--save your money and invest in his best "A Season in Pergatory"....where this one should stay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    Totally Agree: What a Disappointment

    I would say more but I 100% echo the original reviewer's sentiments. I looked forward to this with such anticipation and found myself both puzzled and sad at the overall quality of Mr. Dunne's very last work. Read his other books and pass on this flat note.

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    Posted January 16, 2010

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