A Season in Purgatory by Dominick Dunne

A Season in Purgatory by Dominick DunneDominick Dunne (1925-2009) was famous for being a socially connected, astute writer of both fiction and non-fiction. He was one of the best contemporary observers of the socially connected very rich from (mostly) old money. His favorite subject was the WASP-y rich who get arrested for murder or mayhem.  He was catty, biting, and wove delightful novels that were thinly disguised fiction which in reality were based on the very socialites with whom he wined and dined.

Dunne himself was well-connected; born into New England wealth, married to the socialite Ellen “Peaches,”  he evolved into a keen observer of behavior of the rich. His brother, screenwriter John Gregory Dunne, was married to the author Joan Didion. Dunne’s daughter Dominique (an actress in the film “Poltergeist”) was tragically murdered by her boyfriend.   In addition to writing novels, and for Vanity Fair magazine, he hosted a crime show on Court TV, covering the foibles of the rich and famous with disgust and gusto.

A Season in Purgatory is Dunne at his best. The novel was inspired by the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley and the subsequent involvement of Michael Skakel (nephew of Ethel Kennedy Skakel) as a suspect in the case. In the novel, protagonist Harrison Burns is enthralled with his wealthy prep school friend Constant Bradley, a JFK-like teen with a large Kennedy-like Irish-American brood, headed by the patriarch Gerald Bradley. Harrison is poor, but connected in society, and the Bradleys are fierce social climbers. When the girl-next-door Winifred Utley is bludgeoned to death, Constant is questioned, but nothing can be proved. Fast forward 20 years — Harrison is a true crime writer and Constant is running for president. Harrison knows a secret about Constant’s whereabouts the night of Winifred’s murder…and seeks to bring him down and to justice. But the Bradleys are powerful and connected and will stop at nothing to save Constant’s freedom and political future…

Find and request this book in our catalog.

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