Excerpt from The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter

by Mark Seal

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal X
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2012, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Prologue
Sunday, July 27, 2008

The plan was foolproof, the route rehearsed, the cast of characters in place, the itinerary perfectly organized. Outwardly calm but with his heart racing, he was at last ready to accomplish what he had been so meticulously planning for months.

He had come a long way to land in this privileged place, a fifth-floor room in Boston's Algonquin Club, a venerable bastion of the most blue-blooded city in America, a preferred meeting place since 1886 for U.S. presidents, heads of state, and local and national aristocrats. He belonged here; he was a member of the board and a familiar presence in the club's impossibly grand rooms, with their tall ceilings, museum-quality paintings, and uniformed staff, all of whom he had come to know and rely upon. His name was James Frederick Mills Clark Rockefeller - Clark to his friends but Mr. Rockefeller to everyone else.

"Good day, Mr. Rockefeller," the waiters would say as he sat for breakfast or lunch in the dining room, with its four fireplaces and a magnificent view of Commonwealth Avenue. Or "Good evening, Mr. Rockefeller," as they fetched him his evening sherry in the book-lined library, surrounded by the portraits of past members, whose ranks included President Calvin Coolidge and a Who's Who of American dignitaries. At forty-seven, he was well entrenched as a link in the country's most fabled family, which traced its lineage back to John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil and created a dynasty of philanthropists.

Lately, a cloud had darkened Clark Rockefeller's usually sunny façade. This explained why he was living, instead of merely lunching, in the Algonquin, which served its members as a haven not only from the unruliness of the outside world but also from temporarily painful and unfortunate events such as marital separation and, as in Rockefeller's case, divorce. Today, however, he had reason to rejoice. He was going to spend it with his adorable little daughter, Reigh, a precious, precocious seven-year-old he called Snooks.

It was a bright Sunday morning, and he put on his customary uniform: well-worn khakis, a sky blue Lacoste shirt with the crocodile embroidered over the heart, Top-Sider boat shoes (as always, without socks), and a red baseball cap emblazoned with the word yale. He adjusted his heavy black-framed glasses, which some people thought brought Nelson Rockefeller to mind, and proceeded from his room down the wide wooden stairway. After passing through the club's hallway, redolent of polish and leather, he entered the imposing front lobby, where Snooks was waiting for him, along with the clinical social worker who was to chaperone their eight-hour visit. Even though Rockefeller's ex-wife, Sandra, was just a few blocks away, she had followed a court order to ferry the child through the social worker.

"Hi, Daddy!" Snooks exclaimed, rushing over to hug him. She was small for seven, with a blond pageboy haircut and a crooked smile, wearing a sundress. Around noon, Rockefeller hoisted her on his shoulders and started walking toward Boston Common, where they had talked about riding the swan boats in the Public Garden. "Good morning, Mr. Rockefeller," people said as he passed, for he was well known in this Beacon Hill neighborhood, having lived here for years in a four-story, ivy-covered $2.7 million town house on one of the best streets in the city. That was before Sandra dragged him through a painful and humiliating divorce, taking not only the Beacon Hill house but also their second home, in New Hampshire. She had also won custody of Snooks and moved her all the way to London, where she now worked, leaving him with only three court-supervised eight-hour visits per year. Today was the first, and his daughter had to be accompanied by Howard Yaffe, the social worker who was tagging behind them like a creaky third wheel.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal. Copyright © 2011 by Mark Seal

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Science of Lie Detection

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...
  • Book Jacket: Fortress America
    Fortress America
    by Elaine Tyler May
    In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    As Bright as Heaven
    by Susan Meissner

    A story of a family reborn through loss and love in Philadelphia during the flu epidemic of 1918.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Force of Nature
    by Jane Harper

    A riveting, tension-driven thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

It was one of the worst speeches I ever heard ... when a simple apology was all that was required.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G O T P, B The P, F T P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.