Wednesday 21 February 2018

Money and murder are the perfect mix

James Tarmy

A great beach book should have some combination of money, lust, murder and travel. How to tell which books fit the bill? Here's my list.

Think back to a simpler time, when the idea that a mediocre man in his mid-30s could make $15m a year on Wall Street was still fresh.

Add in yet more greed, vanity, sociopathology and you've got the best book Wolfe's ever written.

If you want to read about beautiful people in beautiful places doing a mixture of horrible things to themselves and others, this is your book. Then watch the hypnotically beautiful 1960 movie with Alain Delon (released as 'Purple Noon'), which is so much better than the plodding version with Matt Damon.

What happens when a smart kid of immense privilege is ravaged by a sadist father and a drug-addled mother? Find out in this (very dark) series of comedic novels.

The 1950s account of life as the child of Hollywood movie stars. A kid raised by narcissists with too much money: what could go wrong?

"If you consider new money to be anything made after 1880 and the phrase "contemporary culture" to be an oxymoron, perhaps this book's your best bet. It does a nice job of applying withering cynicism to the present day and the world that came before it in equal measure.

A thinly fictionalised account of the shooting of Billy Woodward, Jnr, heir to the Hanover National Bank fortune, by his wife Ann, who killed herself when she learned of Truman Capote's upcoming, equally thinly fictionalised account of the murder in 'Esquire' magazine.

"Well, that's that," Ann's mother-in-law is reported to have said. "She shot my son, and Truman just murdered her, and so now I suppose we don't have to worry about that anymore."

It keeps things streamlined with a single character who shuts himself in a villa and spends the entire novel doing fantastical things with his money. A cult book for the global aesthete.

Irish Independent

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