'Too Much Money' is Dominick Dunne's final work. The author -- a best-selling novelist, television show host and journalist -- died Aug. 26.
In this book, Dunne reunites us with Gus Bailey, the author's alter ego. In a work rich with intrigue, Bailey navigates life in New York's high society, delving into the private lives of the moneyed elite.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.
Or watch the trailer for "After the Party" a new documentary about the legendary scribe's life.
PROLOGUE from TOO MUCH MONEY by Dominick Dunne
A few years ago there was a rumor that I had been murdered at my house in Prud'homme, Connecticut, by a cross-country serial killer of rich older men. Of course, it wasn't true, although it was a rumor that lingered for a while: Gus Bailey was dead. There was indeed a serial killer at the time, who was very much in the news. He had just killed a couturier in Miami who was so famous that Princess Diana and Elton John and his future husband attended the funeral in Milan. I confess now to having been the person who started the rumor. I couldn't figure out how to finish a novel I was writing at the time, and I wanted desperately to leave the next day for the Cannes Film Festival with Stokes Bishop, my editor at Park Avenue magazine, who assured me in advance that I was to be seated between the French film star Catherine Deneuve and Princess Olga of Greece at the magazine's party at the Hôtel du Cap in Antibes. I didn't want to miss that so I just grabbed the headline news of the murder in Miami and added Gus Bailey to the killer's list, thus ending the novel, and I flew to France. Do I regret having done that? Yes.
My name is Augustus Bailey, but I am called Gus Bailey by everyone who knows me. It happens that I am often recognized by strangers on the street, or in public places, and even those people call me Gus. I only use Augustus Bailey on my passport, my driver's license, the covers of the books I write, my monthly diaries for Park Avenue magazine, and the weekly introductions on my cable television series, Augustus Bailey Presents, which I host. I thought it best to tell you a bit about myself before I get into the story that I am about to tell. It should be pointed out that it is a regular feature of my life that people whisper things in my ear, very private things, about themselves, or about others. I have always understood the art of listening.
The characters in all my novels are based on real people, or combinations of real people, and they are often recognizable to the readers. Many of the ones who recognized themselves in the books became livid with me. If you could have heard the way Marty Lesky, the Hollywood mogul, who has since died, yelled at me over the telephone. There was a time when I would have been paralyzed with fear at such a call from Marty Lesky, but that time has passed. It made him more furious that I was not writhing with apologies, but the dynamic between us had changed over the years and I no longer feared him, as I used to fear male authority figures, going all the way back to the terror my father inspired in me as a child, but that's another story. I've lost several friends over my books. One I missed. One I didn't.