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Lily White

By Gaston Bullock Means
Book Details
  • Author: Gaston Bullock Means
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 1930-01-01
In Susan Isaac's most ambitious and dazzling novel to date, we are introduced to Lee White, a criminal defense lawyer practicing on Long Island. Into her life drifts Norman Torkelson, a career con man charged with strangling to death his latest mark. At first, as Lee explains to us, the case seems routine, the evidence overwhelming. Norman - manly, magnetic, and morally reprehensible - is a man who crisscrosses America looking for patsies for his cruel marriage scam: Love 'em, liquidate their assets, leave 'em. Clearly, he murdered Bobette Frisch, the dumpy, sour fiftysomething bar owner who had fallen madly in love with him. But just as Lee is resigning herself to the inevitable "Guilty!" verdict, she begins to have doubts. What, after all, was Norman's motive? Why not do what he had done for the last twenty years: run, and leave behind a broke and brokenhearted victim? Lee starts to wonder if her client is not merely not guilty but covering for the real killer and, in doing so, performing the first selfless act of his life. As the Torkelson case unfolds, a second narrator chimes in to tell us the story behind the story: the tale of Lee's life. Born Lily White, Lee is a smart, pretty, and privileged child coming of age on Long Island. Her parents have little time for her or her younger sister, devoted as they are to the pursuit of shallowness. Her mother, Sylvia, who looks like Lauren Bacall's twin sister with a mild eating disorder, is busy with the exhausting work of keeping up her wardrobe. Her father, Leonard Weissberg - Weiss - and finally White, is consumed by his chi-chi Manhattan fur salon, his model-bookkeeper mistress, and his obsession with the family next door, theold-money, oh-so-social Taylors. When Lee marries Jazz Taylor, the scion of these blue-bloods, her life seems blessed. Suddenly she has her mother's approval, her father's love - and a sublime husband. No matter that she has to give up her dream job in the Manhattan D.A.'s Office to move back to Long Island with him; that's what marriage is, a series of compromises made in the name of love. Isn't it?

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