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For more than two decades, Vanity Fair has published Dominick Dunne's brilliant, revelatory chronicles of the most famous crimes, trials, and punishments of our time. The pursuit of justice has become his passion a passion that began during the trial of the man who murdered Dunne's daughter and who was sentenced to six and a half years and released in less than three. Dunne's account of that trial and its shocking result became the first of his many classic essays on justice.
Dominick Dunne's essays do much more than simply describe; his investigations have shed new light on those crimes and their perpetrators and demonstrated how it is possible for some to skirt, even flout, the law. His persistence and personal involvement in the matter of Martha Moxley's murder was an important catalyst in bringing a dormant case back to life.
Here in one volume are Dominick Dunne's mesmerizing tales of justice denied and justice affirmed. Whether writing of Vicki Morgan's hideous death; Claus von Blow's romp through two trials; the media frenzy of Los Angeles in the age of O.J. Simpson; the death by fire of multibillionaire banker Edmund Safra in Monaco; or the ominous silence surrounding the death of Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the indictment decades later of Michael Skakel, Dominick Dunne tells it honestly and tells it from his unique perspective. His search for the truth is relentless. His courage and his storytelling skills shine from every page. "In my everyday life over the last fifty years, it has been my curious lot to move among the rich and famous and powerful, always as an outsider, always listening, watching, remembering."
Writing about the crimes of the rich and famous for Vanity Fair with this insider's status, Dominick Dunne has borne witness to the often bizarre personalities who surround high-profile cases and their telling intimacies. Andrea Reynolds, for instance, dressed only in a negligee and jewelry, insists that her jewels are finer than those of the comatose woman in whose apartment she resides and whom her lover, Claus von Bulow, is charged with attempting to murder. The essays in Justice offer a fascinating, disturbing, and wry look at the cast of a half dozen high-profile trials, including Lyle and Erik Menendez, who murdered their affluent parents; Marvin Pancoast, who beat the $18,000-a-month mistress of Alfred Bloomingdale to death with a baseball bat; the multibillionaire banker Edmund Safra, who suffocated in his own bunker-like bathroom in Monaco; and the gossiping members of Los Angeles society during "All O.J., All the Time."
The most moving story by far is the title piece, about the murder of Dunne's daughter, the actress Dominique Dunne, by her ex-boyfriend, who walked away with a pitifully light sentence thanks to the extremes taken by his defense lawyer and the vanity of the judge. While the succeeding stories don't have the same poignancy, Dunne still makes them personal--after all, he knows many of those involved, and justice truly is personal for him. In fact, it is this moral authority that enables him to enter the strange universe of high-society crime and write about it with no pretense of objectivity, but rather with rage toward the short shrift justice is so often given in celebrity cases. The counterpoint to his anger is a delicious irony in the form of fascinating subplots, jet-set gossip, and terrific quotes straight from some of the horses' mouths. Dunne has both a sharp sense of the absurd and a trenchant eye for injustice in any form. --Lesley Reed