The Mansions of Limbo

The Mansions of Limbo is a collection of Vanity Fair articles by a writer for whom there’s no high like high society. Unfortunately, even the most memorable piece here — the story of Lyle and Erik Menendez, who allegedly gunned down their parents in their Beverly Hills sitting room — is full of in-cold-blood clichés. One section begins, ”On the evening of the following day, August 20, 1989, the seemingly idyllic world that Jose Menendez had created was shattered.” Also included in the collection are profiles of Jane Wyman, Joan and Jackie Collins, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Queen Noor of Jordan. No subtlety of association is lost on this writer: Everyone is someone’s ”great friend,” or his ”great and good friend,” or his ”great good friend.” Dunne’s stories make for nifty life-style dispatches, but the real fun to be had here is watching Dunne schmooze with the superrich, name-drop, and go gaga over everybody’s jewelry (”It was the Ashoka diamond, a 41.37 carat D-flawless stone named after Ashoka Maurya, the third-century B.C. Buddhist warrior-emperor”). ”I’m never one of them,” Dunne says of his subjects. Perhaps — but it’s not for lack of trying. B-

The Mansions of Limbo
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