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Murder at San Simeon (First Love No. 102) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1998

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Jan 1998
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Inc; Reprint edition (Jan 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671534025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671534028
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,895,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
What a disappointment 18 Feb 2003
By Monica B. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I began this book believing that William Randolph Hearst's granddaughter Patricia Hearst would be able to provide some insight into her grandfather's life and character, as well as her family's idea of what happened to Thomas Ince. However, Ms. Hearst opened the book with a disclaimer that her grandfather was not much discussed by her family, and that with his having died before her birth, she could only speculate along with everyone else about what Mr. Hearst was like, and about what happened to Tom Ince.
In addition to having boring fictional characters and an uninteresting, unresolved plot line, this poorly-written book was filled with fictional, inaccurate stereotypes of actual people that are no longer alive to defend themselves. Were any of the real people Ms. Hearst wrote about still living today, she would have been liable to lawsuits for slander. Hearst and her co-author paint Marion Davies as a mean, conniving, stupid, ill-mannered floozy who was with Hearst strictly for his money. Every other reference I have ever read about Miss Davies spoke of her generosity and kindness, her fun-loving nature, and her deep admiration for Hearst. None of that appears in this novel. Ms. Hearst doesn't spare her grandfather an ugly treatment either; nor is she at all kind in describing the movie stars that filled San Simeon with gaiety, laughter, and good-natured hijinks. In addition to gratuitously trashing the reputations of the well-known people in this novel, Ms. Hearst and her co-author also get wrong the few well-established facts concerning Tom Ince's death.
Read Marion Davies' own book, "The Times We Had," or any of the numerous biographies of stars of the early motion picture days to get a picture of what Hearst and Davies were really like, and the facts and rumors that circulated after Tom Ince's death. Even the speculative movie "The Cat's Meow" will provide a somewhat more accurate view of the people and circumstances involved.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
could have been great 3 Nov 2003
By "truthandjustice" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book could have been great if the writers had put it together in a smoother manner and had done a little more work on their characters and their backgrounds. Now, it has peaked my interest enough that I find myself looking up stories on the people described in the book. It was very educational in describing the San Simeon estate and made me hope that some day I will get to see it myself. The authors description of the wealth and power that Hearst had established and how corrupt and manipulative the very wealthy could be was fascinating. One of the authors is Hearst's granddaughter so that is an added interest.
The story is of a young woman who has come to California to attend the funeral of her mother, a woman she has never felt close to during her lifetime. As a last act of respect, Catha Kinsolving Burke, goes to San Simeon as those were her mother's deathbed words. On the bus tour she runs into a couple who mentions a murder involving an Abigail Kinsolving that happened in connection to the San Simeon Hearst estate in the 1920s. She gets them to tell her part of the story, and finds out that Abigail Kingsolving was her grandmother. She ends up following various clues to see if she can figure out what actually happened seventy years ago and how the events influenced her mother's and her life. The end of the book was frustrating. While it did peak my interest it was only enough to give it three stars.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Pure garbage that trivializes the great silent stars 19 Oct 1999
By moviefan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a speculative story on the alleged events surrounding film producer Thomas Ince's death in 1924, it greatly disappoints, offering no clear or conclusive hypothesis and relying heavily on sleazy innuendo. It is rather sloppy on historical detail (e.g. Greta Garbo did not arrive in the U.S. until 1925, John Barrymore was in London rehearsing for Hamlet at the time of the alleged events.) What makes MURDER AT SAN SIMEON truly reprehensible, however, is its trivialization of the silent film era. Fascinating performers like Charlie Chaplin and John Gilbert are reduced to tabloid fodder. Poor Marion Davies comes off the worst here; Hearst and Biddle's hatchet job of her almost makes Welles's mockery of her in CITIZEN KANE seem complimentary. In order to fully appreciate and understand silent movies, watch films like THE GOLD RUSH and SHOW PEOPLE instead.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Murderous Mess 21 Jun 2000
By NightRain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I hate this book. The writing style and flow of thoughts the authors composed were fragmented. Annoying characters like Marion the dipstick, made reading torturous especially since she's on like every page - "OOhh daddy poo!", talking in her damn baby drivel. The heroine, Catha Burke was soo bland. She never affected me in any kind of way so having to read about her as she pursued the investigation was a bore. This book doesn't resolve some of the main reasons for reading the story, like who killed Thomas Ince, and is mostly flashbacks of boring snobbish parties with a lost heroine going nowhere.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Childish writing 3 Oct 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This could have been a crackerjack story if it weren't for the
writing. Both Ms Hearst and her co-author seem to have just
graduated from a sophmore English class and are putting what
they have learned to use.

The characters are cutout figures with no depth and are the sum of
all stereotypes in the early days of the film industry.

I could only get through the first hundred pages, before it
became unbearable to continue.

I hope nobody wastes their money on this.
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