RON ROSENBAUM – Murder at Elaine’s. Stonehill, hardcover, 1978. No paperback edition.


    Elaine’s is said to be the hottest literary hangout in Manhattan, lionized by all the most ultra-sophisticates of western society. The lights go out, except for a silencer a shot rings out, and there on the floor is the former publisher of Media Confidential.

    Motive: a literary feud? Or is it some ramification of the dope rackets?

    This old-fashioned murder mystery was previously serialized in High Times Magazine, and a more unlikely blend is difficult to imagine.

    Solved in passing is the well-known Dickens/Edwin Drood case, and revealed as well is the ending of a famous Agatha Christie novel.

    The “in” crowd will gobble this up, which hardly makes it an automatic must for the true mystery fan. Still, part of the plot are those missing eighteen minutes from an infamous White House tape. Wouldn’t you really like to know who done what to whom?

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 5, Sept-Oct 1979. Very slightly revised. (This review appeared earlier in the Hartford Courant.)

RIP Elaine Kaufman:   This celebration of her life from the “Diner’s Journal” section of The New York Times says it all, certainly better than I, having never seen the outside of Elaine’s, much less the inside. From the obituary page:

    “Elaine Kaufman, who became something of a symbol of New York as the salty den mother of Elaine’s, one of the city’s best-known restaurants and a second home for almost half a century to writers, actors, athletes and other celebrities, died Friday in Manhattan. She was 81.”