October 29, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Madam 90210

Current Status
In Season
Alex Adams
We gave it a B

Before there was thin, haughty, publicity-guzzling, 27-year-old Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, there was fat, shrewd, discreet Alex Adams, a.k.a. Madam Alex, a 60-year-old Filipino lady whose notorious Beverly Hills, Calif.-based business was inconveniently shut down by the LAPD in 1988—after two decades of ducky coexistence with local law enforcement officials. Both broads—I believe that’s the technical term—have stories to tell, and Alex was contracted to publish hers next year. But with her former protegee Heidi in the headlines, Alex and her high-minded literary advisers decided it would be wise to get her story out ASAP. That may explain why Madam 90210 (Villard, $22) is such a disorganized and disheveled book: It reads like the raucous guests have checked out and the hotel maids haven’t had time to change the sheets and straighten up the room.

Working with cowriter William Stadiem, a dish-loving Los Angeles- based author and screenwriter, Alex sells herself as an appealingly practical businesswoman (with a fondness for cats) who understands exactly how money, power, fame, and lust converge in Hollywood to create unreined sexual appetites with unchained discretionary funds. The authors are funniest and savviest in their descriptions of the rock stars and oil sheikhs, studio producers and leveraged-buyout artists, and blond UCLA coeds and blond Midwestern beauty queens and blond suburban divorcees who buy or sell sex.

You’re on your own to guess which famous horny man romped with which pliable young woman, because there are no names named in these true stories. And you’re certainly on your own to make moral judgments, since there’s not a scruple to be found in these pages. But you don’t have to imagine the kinky scenes on your own, because Madam and Stadiem pitch in handily with dirty, dirty stuff. (Yeah, I bet you’re shocked.)

Alex has plenty of juicy stories to tell, but the PR accorded her onetime employee clearly rankles. Opening Madam 90210 with a description of a party chez Fleiss, she scratches like one of her beloved kitty cats: ”Like many other local Jewish American Princesses who wanted it all but weren’t willing to work for it,” she hisses, ”Heidi found her way to Madam Alex, the patron saint of these decorative lost causes.” Meowww. If fear of Fleiss is what it took to rush this raunchy little book onto the shelves, that’s fine. But unnecessary. I mean, Heidi Who? B

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