A life of untold riches and splendor awaited Monika Zumstag, a Californian who was about to marry a quiet, handsome Englishman. Through a chance encounter, Michael Telling, an heir to the Vestey fortune, the second wealthiest family in England, had met Monika's father, who in turn introduced Michael to his daughter. What seemed like a fairy tale soon turned into a gothic nightmare. Upon Monika's arrival in England, Michael's quiet demeanor steadily gave way to wildly erratic behavior, culminating in wild tantrums, with Michael ripping their home apart and attacking Monika physically. Soon, Monika learned about Michael's long history of psychiatric hospitalizations. While trying to help him, she soon became an alcoholic. In one night of terror, Michael shot and killed Monika and then beheaded her. He was found guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Lindsey has written a fascinating tale of disturbed people and dashed dreams. Recommended for true crime collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/92.-- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
An enthralling true-life Cinderella storythat drips blood all over the glass slipper. Lindsey (A Gathering of Saints, 1988, etc.) again shows his mastery of true crime, revealing the horror of his fractured fairy tale bit by tantalizing bit. Cinderella is California-girl Monika Zumsteg, sunny and vivacious despite growing up with an alcoholic dad. Prince Charming is Michael Telling, a mysterious British tourist who sweeps Monika off her feet and into a near-instant betrothal. Traveling with Michael to England, Monika learns that her fianc‚ is not, as he's claimed, a British secret agentbut, rather, heir to the billionaire Vesteys (whose family history Lindsey recounts at tedious length); moreover, he's married, with a young son. Despite the lies, Monika decides to proceed with the marriage once Michael divorces. But when at last luxuriously settled into a small English town, Monika finds her dream mutating into nightmare as Michael begins to explode into wild ragesrages, she learns, that stem from his abandonment as a child and that once compelled him to set fire to his boarding school. Despairing, Monika takes to drink, extramarital sex, and hounding Michael to change his ways; so he shoots her dead and cuts off her headspinning the narrative from sordid melodrama into tight police procedural as Scotland Yard, sifting clues, eventually nabs Michael. The narrative spins again, into riveting courtroom drama, as an indignant Lindsey details how the British justice systemalong with the raving British tabloid pressallows the trial to turn into an indictment of Monika's character, and allows Michael to try to slip through the loophole of an insanity plea.Starts slow but gains tremendous force, winding updespite Lindsey's customary pedestrian proseas a tale both dark and deep, haunted by familial and societal curses. And it'll make a great movie. (Eight pages of b&w photographsnot seen.)