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Extended Audio Sample Madness under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach Audiobook, by Laurence Leamer Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.94 out of 52.94 out of 52.94 out of 52.94 out of 52.94 out of 5 2.94 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laurence Leamer Narrator: Todd McLaren Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2009 ISBN: 9781400180714
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In March 1999, a Palm Beach matron and her socially ambitious husband invited the elite of the island for a dinner dance honoring Prince Edward. Among those dancing to the string orchestra that evening would be those accused of murder and spousal abuse, and others who would suffer fates both unseemly and unspeakable. Among the outer circle there would be murders, suicides, and fatal fires. There would be those who would rise from the dust of obscurity to the heights of wealth and those who would fall to oblivion and disgrace. Thus begins Madness Under the Royal Palms. Leave it to Laurence Leamer, the bestselling author known for getting the inside story on his elusive subjects, to take us behind the walls of America's most exclusive enclave of wealth and privilege. Here Leamer tells a braided story involving a socialite determined to make it to the top of Palm Beach society, two infamous murders, and a powerful society reporter. As a backdrop, Leamer tells the story of the clash between old money and new, religion and status, and the love, lust, and fatal hatreds that determine the shape of a fiercely protected society. The cast of characters include trophy wives, trophy husbands, purported gigolos, glamorous widows, a pioneering gay couple, a wildly irreverent event planner, a sociopathic multimillionaire, and an elegant society queen. For 100 years, Palm Beach has been a fantasyland nurtured by, and maintained for, the megawealthy. In the end, Leamer's tale of money, murder, and mad pretension reveals a darker strain. Uncovering that strain, the author writes, "turned into as fascinating, in some cases as shocking, and always as unexpected a journey as I have ever taken." Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Tracing the history of Palm Beach and its magnificent real estate, describing the fabulous parties, investigating some of the city’s sordid secrets, Leamer’s book provides a memorable, and at times haunting, portrayal of high society at a moment of transition, where things are often not what they seem.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • Madness offers buckets of heart-warmimg Schadenfreude for all. The Washington Post
  • Madness offers buckets of heart-warmimg schadenfreude for all.”

    Washington Post

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tiffany | 2/14/2014

    " Sooo boring. Could barely get through this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barb | 2/11/2014

    " I kept the Book Review (Phila Inquirer) for a few years, and finally last month I did a search at my small NJ library, and now the book is due back in a few days, and I need to return it..... But I don't want to. Whew.... I'll write more when I finish reading about these crazy people. Money truly does not buy happiness. And in West Palm Beach money doesn't even buy relaxation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 2/11/2014

    " Larry took a lot of heat from the denizens of Palm Beach after he wrote this book. He had to "flee" the island. I have the original version sans Bernie Madoff. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debra Kale | 2/9/2014

    " This was a great read, I new some of the people. Very Interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 2/7/2014

    " What I learned from this book? That the people in this book are disgusting, not because they are rich, but because money and status is the only thing that seems to matter to them. That's life? I think not. Oh, and lying, cheating, adultery, bigamy, theft, murder, etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine | 2/2/2014

    " So interesting to see how the "other half" lives, and how they got to be there. The author lives in Palm Beach, has experienced the environs of the ultra-wealthy, whom he interviewed for this book. I wonder if some will ever speak to him again. He truly trashes their jaded lifestyles and only really liked one or two. What stories! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mari Anne | 1/17/2014

    " Titillating but shallow. I expected more out of this book. It's clear that Mr. Leamer is no Dominick Dunne (pity). Leamer only seemed to scratch the surface of the many people written about in the book and it barely kept my interest. The book is also poorly edited with many of the stories spread out over multiple chapters. It's hard to keep track of who was who and the time line of exactly when events transpired. Considering his book spans over one hundred years this is a pretty major pitfall. Wouldn't recommend unless you are fascinated by Palm Beach and the lifestyles of the rich and famous or know someone mentioned in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adriana | 1/14/2014

    " Although i can't say I was surprised by the content of this book, I did find it hard to put down. No it doesn't surprise me that the ultra-wealthy have no class, morals, compassion or care for anyone other than themselves, they've always been as such. Never ONCE have I met someone with money who doesn't TRY to make me feel inferior or unworthy of their company. Emphasis on "try" of course, because I certainly don't envy their lives, their cars, their clothing, their homes. Give me my middle class up-bringing in a loving home built by immigrant parents, who both worked their tails off to survive and provide for their family. Give me the love and presence of both parents, religion, respect and discipline that is forever ingrained in me til death; values that I now instill in my own children and hopefully, they will instill in their own. This world of excess, self-indulgence, and a sense of entitlement undeserving, falls apart eventually. They create their own downfalls, and I haven't the least bit of sympathy for any of them. The need to have more and more and more, no matter the cost, homes bigger than most neighborhoods, cars that cost the amount it would take to feed a third world country. Philanthropists??? Are we suppose to be appeased by their donations to charities? It's just another way to filter their fortunes, and receive taxable deductions. It makes me angry to know that these people are celebrated, worshipped and placed on pedestals, when the more worthy, hard-working citizens go unnoticed. America's Rich and Shameless. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Holly | 1/14/2014

    " It was interesting. THese people have no moral compass whatsoever. It jumped around a bit between characters a little too much for my taste. Sometimes this made it hard to follow. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katie | 11/1/2013

    " A book about a bunch of spoiled rich people. Not a big fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 10/12/2013

    " I read this book over the course of 24 hours. The book was based on the authors observations and some interviews when available. The author was able to tie in the varied storylines quite well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 10/10/2013

    " A rather disjointed account of murder and wealth (or lack of) in Palm Beach, Florida. It was interesting in a rather disturbing way to read about the super-rich and their less-than-perfect lives, but depressing at the same time that people place so much value on wealth and place in society. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 9/4/2013

    " Accurate, gossipy, and fun. Helps if you know a bit about Palm Beach already "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaime | 7/3/2013

    " Read it after Sin in the Second City. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Paula | 1/8/2013

    " Pure gossip. No big revelation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 12/18/2012

    " This book is not written very well. It does not have a good flow. If I didn't spend time in the Palm Beach area I would not have been interested at all in the book. This book could have been written in a much more interesting way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chazzle | 8/16/2012

    " What an interesting book! Better than a Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae with roasted pecans and whipped cream. Treat yourself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 4/16/2012

    " I found myself disliking the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 DJ | 4/15/2012

    " Ah, life in Palm Beach; very good look at the pettiness, prejudices and intrigues from an insider, who probably became an outside after he wrote this book. Not as tightly written and fast-paced as I'd have liked, but in all, a good beach or plane ride read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michaeldelicio | 12/22/2011

    " Good look at the rarely seen world of Palm Beach. History of the island, and scandals galore...fun read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Neida | 10/16/2011

    " An interesting insight into the "nouveau riche", exclusive socialites of Palm Beach with plenty of colorful characters. I grew somewhat bored towards the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 10/3/2011

    " On a whim, I picked up this book last month during a trip to Palm Beach, and I'm so glad that I did. The book is absolutely fascinating!! The insight into the lives (mostly tragic) of spotlighted Palm Beach residents is intriguing. I didn't want to put the book down...it's a voyeuristic treat. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rhonda | 9/3/2011

    " A look into the lives of the 'rich and famous' on Palm Beach. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alan | 1/17/2011

    " The rich are different...

    I lived on the mainland nearby, and the island did have a "storied" quality. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rhonda | 10/30/2010

    " A look into the lives of the 'rich and famous' on Palm Beach. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 6/28/2010

    " I found myself disliking the author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 6/21/2010

    " I swear I read the wrong jacket cover on this one - what I thought would be a true crime story was actually a book-length gossip column on the crazies at Palm Beach. There was murder and mayhem, but in the end, it was a number of reasonably interesting profiles of screwed-up rich people. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jack | 6/4/2010

    " Pretentious look at the rich and perhaps not so famous demonstrating that they are just as vain, vapid and self promoting as the rest of humanity. One has to wonder why anyone would care about these people, except that they have money. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 4/14/2010

    " On a whim, I picked up this book last month during a trip to Palm Beach, and I'm so glad that I did. The book is absolutely fascinating!! The insight into the lives (mostly tragic) of spotlighted Palm Beach residents is intriguing. I didn't want to put the book down...it's a voyeuristic treat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 4/12/2010

    " A fascinating read about the hidden world of the very wealthy in Palm Beach. The WASPs against all other "insects".
    Very good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 3/31/2010

    " What a bunch of shallow, insecure, anti-semitic hypocrites! (did I leave anything out?) I had no idea of what the social life and everyday lives of the wealthy was like. I am so happy to NOT be one of them! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 3/4/2010

    " Wow! Trashy! So badly written! Good to read at work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 1/19/2010

    " Larry took a lot of heat from the denizens of Palm Beach after he wrote this book. He had to "flee" the island. I have the original version sans Bernie Madoff. "

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About the Author

Laurence Leamer is the author of over a dozen books, including The Kennedy Women and Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger, with many bestsellers among them. He was on the staff at Newsweek and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Playboy, and many other publications. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida, and Washington, DC.

About the Narrator

Todd McLaren was involved in radio for more than twenty years in cities on both coasts, including Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He left broadcasting for a full-time career in voice acting, where he has been heard on more than five thousand television and radio commercials, as well as television promos; narrations for documentaries on such networks as A&E, Discovery, and the History Channel; and films, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit?