GOLD COAST BOOK REVIEW

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A NEGLECTED residential property following door, the nightmare of eexceptionally subcity homeowner. Imagine just how a lot worse for John Sutter.

He is living on a 200-acre Locust Valley estate, complete via a 50-room McKim-Mead-White mansion, while the neighboring hulk is a Spanish Colonial villa through a leaking roof, bashed-in home windows, moss-covered interior walls and also squirrels nesting in the plumbing.

John Sutter should be ecstatic once the brand-new owner's horde of handymen restores the white stucco walls and also red-tiled roof to their previous splendor. Right? Not exactly.

Why? Since Mr. Sutter, the primary character in Nelboy DeMille's latest novel, ''The Gold Coast,'' is a descendant of original Long Island gentry, his wife is a blueblood socialite and his new neighbor happens to be the boss of New York's most effective organized-crime family members.


Premise for a New Book

This clash of cultures is the premise for Mr. De Mille's new book about manners and also morals, which will certainly be published April 16. Referring to F. Scott Fitzgerald's ''Great Gatsby,'' a classic parable of Gold Coast life in the time of the Roaring Twenties, Mr. De Mille said that his book ''is type of Jay Gatsby meets the Godfather.''

Mr. De Mille, who resides in Garden City, has actually publimelted 5 books because 1978, each marketing even more than a million duplicates. The last two, ''The Cdamage School'' and ''Word of Honor,'' made The New York Times best-seller list, and also ''The Gold Coast'' is a Publication of the Month Club major selection for May.

Peter Guber of Columbia Motion Pictures acquired film rights to the book for $750,000, hired Frank Yablans of ''The Godfather'' as producer and also John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion to write the screenplay.

With a significant novel and also film approaching, the Gold Coast, accustomed to basking in a glow no stronger than a lighthouse's dim beacon, is around to be hit by the glare of klieg lights.

The Gold Coast extends from Long Island Sound to Northern State Parkway and stretches from the Nassau County line in the west to Centerport.


Compincreasing about a 3rd of Nassau County's area, the Gold Coast as soon as had about 500 lavish mansions built from the revolve of the century till the Depression.

It is still arguably, as the novel puts it, ''The ideal neighborhood in America, making Beverly Hills or Shaker Heights, for instance, seem choose tract housing.''

Mr. De Mille, recognized as an author of cold battle thrillers, among them ''The Talbot Odyssey,'' decided to collection his latest narrative on the Gold Coast because, he sassist, ''it was not well-documented in literature. I check out Long Island's North Shore as a microcosm of our altering culture.

''I've always been fascinated by the Gold Coast. The homes themselves are spectacular, unchoose anything you'll check out various other than in Newport, Bar Harbor or Palm Beach. It's an extremely distinct area that, because of regional demographics, is not going to make it through much much longer.''

Mr. De Mille was born in Jamaica, Queens, and educated at Elmont High School and also Hofstra College, and so he knows the area well, although he calls himself ''a member in excellent standing of the middle class.''

His interemainder in the Gold Coast chateaus first arose once his father, a French Canadian immiprovide throughout the 30's, was a contractor on some of the mansions, among them the W. R. Grace estate and also Greentree, the Whitney estate.

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To research study the book, Mr. De Mille infiltrated behind the wrought-iron gates via a tree surgeon that has operated on the estates for 30 years.


The estate, built in 1927 for Sir Samuel Salvage, an English knight, and later on owned by the widow of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, ''played a significant function in the social life of the Gold Coast,'' sassist Carmel Tintle, Banfi's vice president of public connections. It was then that debutantes curtsied at glittering soirees.

Now, opulently restored by John Mariani, Banfi's chairman, and his brvarious other, Harry F. Mariani, the company's president - both are friends of Mr. De Mille - the mansion will certainly be the website of the publishers' reception for the deyet of ''The Gold Coast.''

The novel presents a sharply observed portrait of the top crust, the privileged ''old-money people'' who frequent exclusive clubs prefer Piping Rock, The Creek and the Seawanhaka-Corinthian Yacht Club.

'Locust Valley Lockjaw'

It would be tough to find a snootier ''silk stocking'' than the protagonist's wife, Susan Stanhope Sutter. Whether cantering through her estate on horseago or sprinting dvery own a personal road in her Jaguar, she is the quintessential robber baroness.


Susan's speech is defined by ''Locust Valley Lockjaw'' or, as Mr. De Mille writes:

''The capability to soptimal in finish and also mainly understandable sentences - including words via numerous wide vowels - and also carry out so without opening one's mouth, like a ventriloquist.''

Yet, despite her hauteur, Susan's family members estate, $400,000 in arrears in taxes, is on the block, the victim of colossal heating bills. Clearly on, Mr. De Mille sees the graffiti on the mullioned home window and hears the bulldozer in the courtyard.

''I was pertained to with the social history of the location, what it was like to live on these expensive mansions and just how the people changed,'' he shelp.

''Tright here are a lot of books about the passing of the English aristocracy, yet the substantial majority of Long Islanders don't understand also their very own backyard. It's a exclusive maintain.''

A Conquering Don

What distinguishes the book from an American variation of ''Upstairs, Downstairs,'' the British television gem, is the advent of the conqueror, Frank Bellarosa, the Mafia don that diversifies his holdings right into Gold Coast actual estate.

''The point that provided the book its fire and engine was the idea of an old WASP family members acquiring associated through a Mafia crime family,'' shelp Mr. De Mille.

''Like all great novels, this is based upon fact. Tright here are Mafia households that have bought magnificent dwellings on the North Shore, although not yet the great manors because they don't desire that type of high profile.''


Mr. De Mille, who is fifty percent Italian, spoofs the decor of ''Mafia Manor.'' The novel's aristocratic narrator, John Sutter, labels Mr. Bellarosa's ''brand-new three-tiered marble fountain from which water spouted and cascaded, lit by multicolored lights,'' as ''early on Italian catering hall.''

The parvenu Mr. Bellarosa is seen as Gatsby's heir, the paradigm of nouveau riche excess. Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby, whose gaudy, champagne-drenched parties in his Great Neck chateau epitomized the Flapper Age, was the extremely picture of the financial moguls that made - and invested - their fortunes on the run.

Mr. De Mille's Bellarosa is the contemporary identical of Fitzgerald's Gatsby, through his fictional, ostentatious Easter party rivaling in vulgarity those that the financier Otto Kahn provided to provide on his 600-acre, 125-room Woodbury estate.

''To make the hunt exciting,'' Mr. De Mille writes of Kahn's parties, ''each colorfully painted egg contained a $1,000 bill. This was a renowned event, and also an original method to celebprice the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.''

The disparate civilizations of Snob and Mob are obvious in the epigrams each resides by. For John Sutter, an alumnus of Yale and Harvard Law School, ''The most essential WASP dictum is, 'Never touch the principal.' ''

In contrast, Mr. Bellarosa candidly acknowledges his even more primitive management style: ''Sometimes I gained to fire civilization, however periodically I got to fire at human being.''

Despite his tough talk, but, this Mafia don is no ordinary thug. Educated at Oakdale's La Salle Military Academy, Mr. Bellarosa quotes St. Jerome and has read Dante and St. Augustine. Unfortunately for culture, he has absorbed all too well the precepts of Machiavelli's ''Prince.'' As for a summary of his education and learning, Mr. Bellarosa says: ''You asked me what I learned at La Salle? I tell you one point I learned. No matter what type of tranquility treaties you gained, you short article a 24-hour guard.''


Mr. De Mille emphasizes the gangster's prep-school background to pose the question: ''What if a male through this type of education and also brilliance made it to the optimal and supplied that education for evil?''

The novel suggests that, although you deserve to take the mobster out of his murderous milieu and also plunk him dvery own amid gazebos and also showing pools, you cannot take the murder out of the mob. After vividly portraying love and lust among the ruins of the ruling class, both top class and upbegin are damaged.

Mr. De Mille, that says the Mafia's ''influence on Long Island appears to be waning,'' intfinished to show, he sassist, ''the passing of two various kinds of culture at the exact same time.''

After the waning of old money and the downfevery one of corrupt money, what is next?

''The hamburger chains, shopping malls, 24-hour convenience stores, pizza parlors - they're below currently,'' writes Mr. De Mille.

Pondering the Flip Side

As contractors pour asphalt over the previous Stanhope estate, where Mrs. Sutter once lived, her husband also ponders the flipside to economic development: ''Anvarious other few hundred acres had gone from rural to submetropolitan, from pristine to scarred.''

''This country requirements an esthetic radvancement,'' said the writer, pointing out his office window to wbelow ugly, institutional condominiums have replaced a park and also the elegant, Georgian-style Garden City Hotel.

''The Europeans, with even more population density and also much less land, have controlled their countryside and also city landscapes better than we have. Here we emphasize the rights of landowner rather than society at big. It's not a healthy thing.'' Mr. DeMille's novel concludes the guided tour to what Fitzgerald called ''that slender, riotous island'' via a postscript. For Gatsby, ensconced in his Gold Coast mansion, the Amerihave the right to dream, Fitzgerald wrote, ''have to have actually appeared so close that he can hardly fail to grasp it.''

Sixty-5 years later the Gold Coast, Mr. DeMille writes, ''Tbelow are desires that can come true, and also dreams that can't.''