Senior Editor Kevin Chaffee hears Laurence Leamer’s tales of money, murder, and madness in Palm Beach
Palm Beach has weathered major scandals over the years, but the current one is worse than all the others put together. In December, so-called “financier” Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme hit America’s foremost money mecca with the force of a Category Five hurricane, obliterating billions from the portfolios of many of the town’s most prominent citizens. Victims remain in shock, facing financial ruin as their former lives of comfort and wealth unravel around them. Suddenly, the world is clamoring for an exposé about the insulated South Florida enclave.
Investigative journalist Laurence Leamer delivers the inside story in Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach. His latest book takes readers to the luxurious homes, private clubs and high-dollar society soirées of the many unforgettable characters he cultivated during his 15 years as a Palm Beach winter resident. Leamer’s eye for detail and unfailing ability to spot a phony guarantee trenchant observations of the historic clashes between the old guard and nouveaux riches, Gentiles and Jews, and the love, lust, greed and rivalries that characterize lives largely hidden behind a façade of exclusivity and privilege.