Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


POISON CANDY: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito's Plot to Kill. Elizabeth Parker and Mark Eber. Benbella Books. Dallas; 2014.

The subject of this book, Dalia Dippolito, tried to hire a hitman to kill her husband, didn't realize she was actually speaking to an undercover cop, who had the whole scene videotaped, and then claimed she was just auditioning for a reality show without a shred of evidence to prove this was true. Poison Candy was written by the prosecutor on the case (with Mark Eber, who generally keeps the book somewhat readable) and there are a few inside details, but nothing that would make this must-reading, and I'm not sure it would make a particularly good TV movie; the story was covered by Dateline. Because "beautiful" women somehow add an element of eroticism and mysticism to a (would-be) murder case, Dipploti is constantly described as beautiful when she's actually rather homely; she's "sexy" if sexy means "available." The basic trouble with Poison Candy is that there's no real mystery or suspense to the story; the "characters" -- a rather dumb sociopath, alleged femme fatale and her even dumber ex-con husband -- are uninteresting. The case was fine for a Dateline episode, but this should have been an article, say, in Vanity Fair (except it would have been too down-market for them), not a whole book.

Verdict: Some prosecutors should just prosecute and let it be. **.

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