Privileged Lives

Edward Stewart, Author Delacorte Press $18.95 (503p) ISBN 978-0-385-29652-6
Heiress Beatrice ""Babe'' Vanderwalk Devens wakes one morning to find herself, not in her own bed at home with her pillow from Altman's, but in a hospital room. More confusing, it is not the next morning, but seven years and seven months later: Babe has been in a coma. Meanwhile, in an exclusive new building high atop the Museum of Modern Art, the real-estate agent showing an apartment to a prospective buyer discovers the bound and mutilated body of a handsome young man. Attractive widower Vince Cardozo, the detective investigating the grisly murder, also pays a hospital visit to Babe. Since her ex-husband had admitted attempting to kill her with an insulin overdose, the police have an interest in whether she regains consciousnessor dies. Cardozo is taken by Babe, a charming woman quite unspoiled by her wealth and social position. But more terrible events are in store for her, as the two separate strands of Cardozo's investigations eventually become unpleasantly entangled. What might seem farfetched to some will be familiar territory to readers of New York tabloids. Deftly using notorious scandals and murders, Stewart creates an immensely readable portrait of the privileged lives of his cafe-society cast of characters, most of whom are riddled with greed and corruption. His spellbinding, witty thriller does a first-rate job of showing that truth is stranger than fiction. 150,000 first printing; BOMC main selection. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
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