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The inside scoop on the book world

Victoria Gotti, a ”Casablanca” sequel, and Richard Gere made news the week of June 20, 1997

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CROWN PRINCESS: Convicted Mob boss John Gotti’s daughter Victoria has just struck a mid-to high-six-figure, three-book deal with Crown. Acquiring Crown editor Sue Carswell tried to sign Gotti’s first book, The Senator’s Daughter (recently published by Forge), back when she was an editor at Pocket Books, but ”I wasn’t allowed to…because of her last name. There was just an absolute ‘no’ from the publisher.” Pocket publisher Gina Centrello had no comment.

YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS: For anyone who’s ever wondered what happened to Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) after the end of Casablanca, Former TIME writer Michael Walsh has the answer. Signed by Warner to write a novel that picks up where the movie left off, he says the tentatively titled As Time Goes By will explore ”tantalizing references to things that happened in the characters’ past”: Why did Rick never go back to New York? How did Laszlo escape the concentration camp? Expect a synergistic Warner movie deal to be announced any minute, and look for the book in fall ’98.

GERED UP: Little, Brown is putting the finishing touches on October’s Pilgrim, a $75 coffee-table book of Richard Gere’s own photography (chronicling his ”feelings for and about Tibetans”). But even the Dalai Lama, who’s writing the foreword, couldn’t prevent the ex-Gigolo from having to share shelf space with a new unauthorized bio (chronicling his feelings for and about Cindy Crawford). The tell-all’s titled Richard Gere: The Flesh and the Spirit, and the emphasis seems to be decidedly on the former.

GRUMPY OLD MEN: No, The Dinosaur Club isn’t an organization for Steven Spielberg fans — it’s a just-out novel about corporate downsizing from Morrow by William Heffernan. Spielberg could certainly join the Club, though, since the only membership criteria are being over 50 and making more than $50,000 per year. Contenders for the film rights included Danny DeVito, who had one of his minions fax the entire 400-page manuscript from the office of Heffernan’s agent. But Warner Bros. scored the winning $1 million bid. Heffernan says DeVito — along with Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas — remains among his favored picks for the cast.

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