The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

by Sidney Sheldon

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He wanted power. Oliver Russell is fated to rise to the pinnacle of power, the office of President of the United States. She wanted revenge. Leslie Stewart is his betrayed fiancee, a woman dedicated to a single purpose-the downfall of Oliver Russell. Amassing her own media empire, marshaling all her forces against him, she stands poised to destroy Russell on the eve of his most dazzling triumph. From Sidney Sheldon, the unchallenged master of bestselling fiction, comes a story of blazing ambitions and thwarted love that enthralls and surprises with every page...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446604086
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 08/28/1998
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 360,017
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

The late novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon remains one of the world's top bestselling authors, having sold more than 300 million copies of his books. He is also the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Edgar. The Guinness Book of World Records heralds him as the most translated author in the world.


Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

February 11, 1917

Date of Death:

January 30, 2007

Place of Birth:

Chicago, Illinois


Northwestern University, 1935-36

Read an Excerpt

The first entry in Leslie Stewarts diary read:

Dear Diary: This morning I met the man I am going tomarry.

It was a simple, optimistic statement, with not theslightest portent of the dramatic chain of events that was aboutto occur.

It was one of those rare, serendipitous days when nothingcould go wrong, when nothing would dare go wrong. LeslieStewart had no interest in astrology, but that morning, as she was leafing through the Lexington Herald-Leader, a horoscope in an astrology column by Zoltaire caught her eye. Itread:


Be prepared to enjoy what? Leslie thought wryly. Today wasgoing to be like every other day. Astrology was nonsense, mindcandy for fools.

Leslie Stewart was a public relations and advertising executive at the Lexington, Kentucky, firm of Bailey & Tomkins.She had three meetings scheduled for that afternoon, the firstwith the Kentucky Fertilizer Company, whose executives wereexcited about the new campaign she was working up for them.They especially liked its beginning: If you want to smell theroses... The second meeting was with the Breeders StudFarm, and the third with the Lexington Coal Company. Red-letter day?

In her late twenties, with a slim, provocative figure, Leslie Stewart had an exciting, exotic look; gray, sloe eyes, high cheekbones, and soft, honey-colored hair, which she wore long and elegantly simple. A friend of Leslies had once told her,If youre beautiful and have a brain and a vagina, you can own the world.

Leslie Stewart was beautiful and had an IQ of 170, andnature had taken care of the rest. But she found her looks a disadvantage. Men were constantly propositioning her or proposing, but few of them bothered to try really to get to know her.

Aside from the two secretaries who worked at Bailey &Tomkins, Leslie was the only woman there. There were fifteenmale employees. It had taken Leslie less than a week to learnthat she was more intelligent than any of them. It was a discovery she decided to keep to herself.

In the beginning, both partners, Jim Bailey, an overweight, soft-spoken man in his forties, and Al Tomkins, anorexic and hyper, ten years younger than Bailey, individuallytried to talk Leslie into going to bed with them.

She had stopped them very simply. Ask me once more,and Ill quit.

That had put an end to that. Leslie was too valuable anemployee to lose.

Her first week on the job, during a coffee break, Lesliehad told her fellow employees a joke.

Three men came across a female genie who promised togrant each one a wish. The first man said, I wish I weretwenty-five percent smarter. The genie blinked, and the mansaid, Hey, I feel smarter already.

The second man said, I wish I were fifty percentsmarter. The genie blinked, and the man exclaimed, Thats wonderful! I think I know things now that I didnt know before.

The third man said, Id like to be one hundred percentsmarter.

So the genie blinked, and the man changed into awoman.

Leslie looked expectantly at the men at the table. Theywere all staring at her, unamused.

Point taken.

The red-letter day that the astrologer had promised began ateleven oclock that morning. Jim Bailey walked into Lesliestiny, cramped office.

We have a new client, he announced. I want you totake charge.

She was already handling more accounts than anyone elseat the firm, but she knew better than to protest.

Fine, she said. What is it?

Its not a what, its a who. Youve heard of Oliver Russell,of course?

Everyone had heard of Oliver Russell. A local attorney andcandidate for governor, he had his face on billboards all overKentucky. With his brilliant legal record, he was considered, atthirty-five, the most eligible bachelor in the state. He was onall the talk shows on the major television stations in LexingtonWDKY, WTVQ, WKYTand on the popular local radiostations, WKQQ and WLRO. Strikingly handsome, with black, unruly hair, dark eyes, an athletic build, and a warm smile, hehad the reputation of having slept with most of the ladies inLexington.

Yes, Ive heard of him. What are we going to do forhim?

Were going to try to help turn him into the governor ofKentucky. Hes on his way here now.

Oliver Russell arrived a few minutes later. He was even moreattractive in person than in his photographs.

When he was introduced to Leslie, he smiled warmly.Ive heard a lot about you. Im so glad youre going to handlemy campaign.

He was not at all what Leslie had expected. There was acompletely disarming sincerity about the man. For a moment,Leslie was at a loss for words.

Ithank you. Please sit down.

Oliver Russell took a seat.

Lets start at the beginning, Leslie suggested. Why areyou running for governor?

Its very simple. Kentuckys a wonderful state. We knowit is, because we live here, and were able to enjoy its magicbut much of the country thinks of us as a bunch of hillbillies.I want to change that image. Kentucky has more to offer thana dozen other states combined. The history of this country began here. We have one of the oldest capitol buildings in America. Kentucky gave this country two presidents. Its the land of Daniel Boone and Kit Carson and Judge Roy Bean. We havethe most beautiful scenery in the worldexciting caves, rivers,bluegrass fieldseverything. I want to open all that up to therest of the world.

He spoke with a deep conviction, and Leslie found herselfstrongly drawn to him. She thought of the astrology column. The new moon illuminates your love life. Today will be a red-letterday. Be prepared to enjoy it.

Oliver Russell was saying, The campaign wont work unless you believe in this as strongly as I do.

I do, Leslie said quickly. Too quickly? Im really looking forward to this. She hesitated a moment. May I ask youa question?


Whats your birth sign?


After Oliver Russell left, Leslie went into Jim Baileys office. Ilike him, she said. Hes sincere. He really cares. I think hedmake a fine governor.

Jim looked at her thoughtfully. Its not going to be easy.

She looked at him, puzzled. Oh? Why?

Bailey shrugged. Im not sure. Theres something goingon that I cant explain. Youve seen Russell on all the billboardsand on television?


Well, thats stopped.

I dont understand. Why?

No one knows for certain, but there are a lot of strangerumors. One of the rumors is that someone was backing Russell, putting up all the money for his campaign, and then forsome reason suddenly dropped him.

In the middle of a campaign he was winning? Thatdoesnt make sense, Jim.

I know.

Why did he come to us?

He really wants this. I think hes ambitious. And he feelshe can make a difference. He would like us to figure out acampaign that wont cost him a lot of money. He cant affordto buy any more airtime or do much advertising. All we canreally do for him is to arrange interviews, plant newspaper articles, that sort of thing. He shook his head. Governor Addison is spending a fortune on his campaign. In the last two weeks, Russells gone way down in the polls. Its a shame. Hesa good lawyer. Does a lot of pro bono work. I think hed makea good governor, too.

That night Leslie made her first note in her new diary.

Dear Diary: This morning I met the man I am going tomarry.

Copyright ) 1997 by The Sidney Sheldon Family Limited Partnership

Table of Contents


On Monday, September 15, welcomed Sidney Sheldon, author of THE BEST LAID PLANS.

Moderator: Welcome to the Auditorium. We are excited to welcome Sidney Sheldon, who is here to talk about his new book, THE BEST LAID PLANS. Welcome, Sidney Sheldon. Thanks for taking the time to discuss your latest bestseller, THE BEST LAID PLANS.

Sidney Sheldon: I am delighted to do this with

Jennifer Tyler from Washington, D.C.: Hello, Sidney, I am a big fan of your books! I am just curious if you had anybody in mind when you created the fictional characters of Senator Todd Davis or Leslie? But then again, would you tell us if you had a public figure in mind? Any similarities in character is purely coincidental isn't it?

Sidney Sheldon: The characters are all fictional, and if they were not, I would not tell.

Jerry Hurley from Columbus Grove, Ohio: Mr.Sheldon, I have enjoyed your books for many years. Does this latest work contain the same elements that make your writings so interesting -- mystery, action, and challenge?

Sidney Sheldon: Yes, I try to write books that have interesting characters and interesting situations, and I think this book certainly falls into this category.

Michael from Jamestown, NY: How many typewritten pages was your final manuscript, and how many revisions did you write?

Sidney Sheldon: On average in my books, the first draft will come between 1,000 and 1,200 pages. I do up to a dozen rewrites, and the final drafts will run between 600 and 700 typewritten pages.

Jessie from Austin, TX: I have read almost all your books, and I loved every one. At what point did you realize that you wanted to become a professional writer?

Sidney Sheldon: I sold my first poem when I was 10 years old, to a children's magazine. I have always known that I wanted to become a professional writer. I was very fortunate.

Tammy from Phoenix, AZ: I just finished THE BEST LAID PLANS, and I love it. I was just wondering what compelled you to write about politics?

Sidney Sheldon: Politics is something that obviously affects all of our lives, and I thought it would make a very interesting subject to deal with, particularly in these times.

Debby Blecha from Aberdeen, WA: You've written many of my favorite books, but the one that I go back and reread is MASTER OF THE GAME. Your characters were outstanding. Would you every consider writing a sequel to any of your books? Exactly what happens to those characters when you finish -- do you ever think about them?

Sidney Sheldon: In answer to the first part, I did write a sequel. It was called MEMORIES OF MIDNIGHT. I have been asked to write many sequels, but we will have to wait and see. I enjoyed writing that book -- I went to Africa in the diamond mines. I never write about a meal in a restaurant unless I have a meal in that restaurant; I research quite extensively. That was a great book to research, and I am glad you enjoyed it.

Brian from Hoboken, NJ: I work in book publishing, and I was just curious How seriously do you take the reviews of your books? Thanks!

Sidney Sheldon: A critic is someone who buys more than one novel of the same author. There are critics who pay their money for what they like, and I have sold 275 million copies around the world, so I take my readers very seriously. They are my critics.

Andrew from Allentown, PA: Do you prefer writing screenplays for movies, for television, Broadway plays, or books? Thanks for taking my question! I am a huge fan.

Sidney Sheldon: Thanks for the question. The most exciting is writing a novel, because it is an in-depth kind of writing. When you write a sceenplay, you never describe a character in detail, because if you describe him as tall and lanky and Clint Eastwood turns the part down and you submit it to Dustin Hoffman, you are in trouble. So you just characterize the different types of characters. When you write a novel, you describe not only the character but what he or she is doing, thinking, etc.

Kendra from New Orleans, LA: Are you going on a reading tour? Will you be coming to New Orleans?

Sidney Sheldon: Unfortunately, I will not be coming to New Orleans, one of my favorite cities in the world. I based IF TOMORROW COMES in New Orleans, and I think it a fascinating city. I look forward to going there again to visit.

Nicole from New York City: I have to ask you what your reaction is to such people like Jerry Falwell, who say your books are immoral and proceed to burn your books.

Sidney Sheldon: Well, I hate censorship! And I don't think there is any such thing as a little censorship. It is like pregnancy It is going to grow. And as long as children are protected, I don't think anybody has the right to tell adults what they can read or think.

Michele from Washington, D.C.: Generally, how long does it take for you to write a book? Also, how do you research the topics, places, people?

Sidney Sheldon: It takes me between one and two years to write a book, because I do a great deal of rewriting and I travel all over the world researching my books. I don't have a staff; I do it alone.

Susan Cafrey from Hampton Bays: Of all the various and memorable characters that you've created over the years, is there one thing that makes them tick? Power? Money?

Sidney Sheldon: My characters are motivated by several different things, sometimes power, sometimes money; sometimes it is love.

Carla H.: What is your opinion on the current political world that surrounds us today?

Sidney Sheldon: I think it is a beautiful world, and in the next century we are going to do wonderful things -- breakthroughs in medicine.... To a large degree, we are going to be able to tame nature. The only thing we have to learn to tame is man.

Karin Bahner from St. Louis: Did you need to do any research for THE BEST LAID PLANS?

Sidney Sheldon: I did a lot of research. I went to the Los Angeles Times plant so I could get the technical side of how newspapers are put together. I went to the TV station to see how shows are produced. I had already been to Yugoslavia twice, but I read at least a dozen books on the war in Yugoslavia and dozens of magazine articles and newspaper clippings, and I flew to New York to meet a woman war correspondent, Donatalla Lorch, who is over there now. I did every sort of research for this book.

Teressa from Hollywood, FL: Are you generally satisfied with the miniseries they make out of your books? How much input do you get for television projects based on your books?

Sidney Sheldon: I am sometimes satisfied and sometimes not as pleased as I would like to be. In some cases, I have a lot of input, but if I am very busy, I can't spend as much time as I would like to. So the answer is, it varies from project to project.

John L. from New York City: I am just curious if you have any plans to return to Broadway. Can you describe the life of a Broadway writer? Thanks! I am a big fan of your work.

Sidney Sheldon: Yes, I have a play in mind and a musical in mind. Well, you devote a year or two to writing a play, and in two hours, on opening night, you find out if you have wasted your time or are successful. A playwright keeps rewriting and rewriting. You change things according to the audience's likes and dislikes.

Karl from Aurora, CO: What was it like growing up during the Great Depression? How much has your past history influenced your writing?

Sidney Sheldon: It was very difficult growing up then because there were so many unemployed people. You had to create your own scene to do what you wanted to do. Yes, I think I was greatly influenced by my environment. It teaches one compassion and what people can go through.

Ken from Lebanon, PA: I am writing for my wife, who could not be here tonight; she's doing to her volunteer work at the local Ronald McDonald House in Hershey. My instructions were to tell you that she has read all your books -- in fact, your latest is on the nightstand waiting to be read. She also wondered what to expect next.

Sidney Sheldon: First off, I am in love with her! And I have already started a new novel, TELL ME YOUR DREAMS, which will be out next year.

Lori Long from Searcy, AR: I don't have a question. I just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed all your books. I have your whole collection. Keep up the fantastic work. Thank you for making my pleasure time enjoyable.

Sidney Sheldon: I am deeply grateful to you!

Melinda from San Francisco, CA: Power, deceit, and revenge gone awry. Where do you get your material from?

Sidney Sheldon: From our lives!

Jennifer from New Jersey: I am curious to find out more information on the interests of Sidney Sheldon. What are your interests outside of writing?

Sidney Sheldon: I love to travel. I love good food. I love to be with my wife, Alexendra! And as far as hobbies are concerned, my only hobby is reading; my work is my vocation and avocation.

Becky B. from Raleigh, NC: I am just curious how you got your start in writing.

Sidney Sheldon: I came to Hollywood when I was 17 years old, and I wanted to be a writer. It was during the Depression, and my mother had given me three weeks to find work out here or to go back to Chicago. I went to the policemen at the studio gates and told them I wanted to be a writer. They all told me the same thing "You don't see anybody." And my three weeks were running out. Fortunately, I heard about readers, people who synopsize stories for busy producers, so I wrote a synopsis of OF MICE AND MEN and I sent it in to all the studios, and two days later, I was working at Universal Studios for 17 dollars a week. I would get up at 4am and work on original stories. The first four didn't sell, but the fifth one did, and I became a screenwriter doing low-budget movies when I was 18 years old. That was the beginning.

Kim from Dallas, TX: Mr. Sheldon, I love you! Are you married?

Sidney Sheldon: I love you too, and I am married, and I love my wife!

Theressa West from California: I have seen your star on Hollywood Boulevard. Are you most proud of that award?

Sidney Sheldon: I have many awards besides the star. I have an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, an Edgar, and a few others, but more important then any of them is being able to reach out and touch people around the world and make them forget their problems for a little while!

John from Charlotte, NC: I was wondering what your writing schedule is like. Do you write every day? How long does it take to normally complete a novel? How long did it take you to finish THE BEST LAID PLANS?

Sidney Sheldon: I usually start writing at 9 in the morning and I work until 6, but if I don't sleep well, which is usually the case, I get up at 3 or 4 in the morning and work in my office. I will sleep an hour or two then go back to work. I usually work seven days a week.

Yolanda from Berkeley: Hello, Mr. Sheldon. How do you come up with your endings? Do you have them in mind when you start your novel?

Sidney Sheldon: I work in a very different way from most writers When I begin a book, I have no plot. I start with a character. A magazine once said that I am so powerful that all I have to do is tell my publisher three words, then they start the books. It has nothing to do with power -- those were the only three words I knew at the time. I told my publisher I wanted to write about a women who wants to seek revenge, and then I started THE BEST LAID PLANS. I dictate to my secretary, and as I dictate, things take over; I never know what is happening next. I am the reader as well as the writer, and I find that an exciting way to work.

Isabell from Shaker Heights, OH: What is next for Sidney Sheldon? I mean, you have written so much and spanned all fields. Is there anything else in the literary world that you aspire to achieve?

Sidney Sheldon: Yes, I know what my next eight projects are. I have Broadway shows, another two novels, and much more. When I wrote my first novel, I was sure I was going to break every literary record and that I was not going to sell one single book, and to make sure that didn't happen, I went to a bookstore and bought one copy. That has been my ritual ever since. I still go to a bookstore and buy one copy to make sure one copy will sell.

Barbara from New Hope, PA: I read that you are involved with literacy. How did you become interested in literacy? How can I get involved?

Sidney Sheldon: I was the national spokesperson for the Coalition for Literacy. The statistics on illiteracy in this country are horrifying. The libraries around the country now have programs to teach people to read and write, and my suggestion is to go to your local library and ask them what to do to help.

Marie-Claude from Quebec, Canada: I have been a fan of your works for many years now. I actually learned to enjoy English literature because of your books. I am also a big movie fan and was wondering if and when another one of your novels would be made into a movie.

Sidney Sheldon: Thank you! It is hard to say, but nearly all of my novels have been made into TV movies; my new one will be on the same route. FYI I will be in Quebec doing research for my new book in November.

Kayla from Lubbock, TX: My son is six and writes continually a story called "Super Chase" (Chase is his name). How do I continue to encourage him in his writing?

Sidney Sheldon: If he wants to be a writer, encourage him, and if he doesn't want strongly to be a writer, don't encourage him. The encouragement should come from within himself!

Sherman from Louisville: Can you tell us a little more about TELL ME YOUR DREAMS?

Sidney Sheldon: I never talk about my books in advance....

Contessa Robins from Chicago, IL: I think you are a wonderful writer. Once I pick up one of your books, I can't put it down. Will you write at least ten more books so that I will have more wonderful works of yours to read?

Sidney Sheldon: God willing! Thank You!

Moderator: Thank you, Mr. Sheldon, for fielding all of our questions this evening! Any final words?

Sidney Sheldon: It has been my pleasure to talk to some of my readers. In fact, the new book is dedicated to my readers with much gratitude. Thanks!

Customer Reviews

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Best Laid Plans 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a woman scorned. When Leslie Stewart meets handsome governor of a southern state, Oliver Russell, she is convinced she will marry him. What follows is a story of revenge that leads from America's bastions of power to the world of newspaper publishing. I give this story a B+! It was a page-turner.
suri19639 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a very interesting read with twists and turns at every corner. Every new page has a new surprise that is unexpected and draws you in. The way Leslie is able to manipulate Oliver into thinking that all is well makes us feel as if its too good to be true, only later is it that we see how she changes his whole idea of a "perfect" life. A very entertaining read!
goodwaterreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book presents a series of situation or person snapshots which are supposed to make a story, but do not succeed to really make a whole. The change of direction at the end of the book is unexpected and seems far fetched. It is the first book I read from M. Sheldon, and I will probably not read another.
cindyloumn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Had it figured out before I got to the end. Plus it was like he couldnt figure out if he wanted the main female to be evil or a heroine. So he brought in another heroine.rating=41/31/98
Lolitabonita on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sidney Sheldon's "The Best Laid Plans" is a high-powered thriller set all over the country, the world, but most of the fast-paced action takes place in Washington D.C. The story follows three main characters, Leslie Stewart, the Ice princess who's abandonment issues cause her to become power-hungry and cause her ultimate demise, appears to be the protagonist; Oliver Russell, who jilts Leslie for another and rises to the Presidency is the antagonist who, in a surprising twist, is not as bad as readers are led to believe; the real protagonist of this book doesn't show up for several chapters ¿Dana Evans, the smart reporter, comes into the story late, but has a pivotal role that will be rehashed and reshaped in Sheldon's book "The Sky is Falling.""The Best Laid Plans" is fast-paced. Although the chapters are longer than current suspense novels, Sheldon's prose keeps readers on the edge of their seats. With a magnificent plot twist at the end, this book is great. Some authors have a difficult time concluding a book or exposing a plot twist that can seem hasty and unprofessional, but Sheldon masters it well, which is no surprise since his first novel came out in 1970. The reader suspects Oliver Russell of a rash of murders and all of the evidence would point that way, too, except Sheldon reveals what happens when readers, reporters, and the public make hasty generalizations.This novel covers Kentucky, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Paris and even Sarajevo, each place has been thoroughly researched by Sheldon, which allows him to include excruciating details that can seem like a form of name dropping, but is really helping the reader set a scene, especially if the reader has visited the locations personally. This small quality that Sheldon incorporates into his books makes them more memorable than most suspense works. While it is easy to forget plotlines and merge them together because of the swiftness of his novels, that is no reason to cast Sheldon aside. His novels were well before their time and have led the way for authors such as James Patterson, Dean Koontz, and others.
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I have read this twice which i almost never do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this years ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. I thought i had it all figured out, but I should have known better. Love the way Mr. Sheldon wrote. A constant surprise. Always captivating.
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love the plot and admired the author
MsTiptress More than 1 year ago
The beginning was slow. Too many pieces were being put together out of nowhere. But very nice twists and turns as always Sidney delivers on tales from the Corrupt. Another tale of fame, fortune, murder, and revenge. This one was a little harder to guess the "whodunit".ust when I thought everything was coming to an end Wham, I was slapped across the face with more intriguing twists.
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I really liked this book. I didn't see the twist at the end coming and absolutely loved it. Great book! --K--
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