Saturday, March 14, 2015

what I've been reading

I've just finished this true crime book...
"The Prince of Paradise" by John Glatt

It's about the murder of Ben Novack Jr and his mother, Bernice...but the story begins with Ben Novack Sr , a self made millionaire who built and owned the famous Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach..

This first section of the book is the best part.  Novack Sr. grew up in New York...raised by immigrant parents who ran a small hotel. As an adult he started up and owned several different small businesses and ended up in Miami with a hotel of his own there.

He really started making a lot of money quickly in 1942,  when the US Army took over Miami Beach to use as a training center...requisitioning over 200 hotels to house the troops, with the government paying the hotel owners a generous amount to rent the rooms.

Novack Sr.  was able to buy  four more hotels during that period...each rented out for the troops every night. That's how he really began building his fortune.

When a large tract of beach front property went up for sale, Novack Sr seized the opportunity and bought it. He hired an architect to design the biggest and grandest hotel on the beach, and named it the Fontainebleau.

Meanwhile he divorced his first wife and married Bernice, and when the hotel was completed, they lived in an apartment there with their son, Ben Novack Jr.

I don't want to give away all the details of the story, but Novack Jr grew up and was a successful and shrewed businessman as well, building a large event planning company.

He married and divorced, then remarried a woman named Narcy, who assisted him in his business. His mother also worked for him and the two women did not get along well.

The rest of the book describes how Narcy, the wife, becomes unhappy with her situation and asks her brother to hire someone to murder her husband and his mother.

The writing in these chapters really bogs down with names of those involved in the killing, what cars they drove, telephone calls they made, who they stayed with, and on and on.

There are graphic descriptions of the murders.  Then we learn how the police and FBI solve the case and how things went at the trials of the killers, Narcy, and her Brother...and the legal wrangling over who should inherit the family fortune.

I have to say this author isn't the best...but if you like true crime stories you would probably like this book.

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