Inkwell Management
Published by
Ballantine (2014-04-22)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Politics & government


The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

by Dedman, Bill

A rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance.

When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into history.

At the heart of this book is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?

Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs, Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.

Bill Dedman introduced the public to heiress Huguette Clark and her empty mansions through his compelling series of narratives for NBC, which became the most popular feature in the history of its news website, topping 110 million page views. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting while writing for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Paul Clark Newell, Jr., a cousin of Huguette Clark, has researched the Clark family history for twenty years, sharing many conversations with Huguette about her life and family. He received a rare private tour of Bellosguardo, her mysterious estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk



On The New York Times list, Empty Mansions peaked at No. 1 in e-book and No. 4 in hardcover and No. 9 in paperback. It made The Times list 13 weeks so far. That's 13 weeks in one or more category. Details: 9 weeks in the hardcover category, 9 weeks in the e-book category, 7 weeks in the print and e-book combined category, and 3 weeks in paperback. It also reached No. 1 in e-book on The Wall Street Journal list, and No. 3 in combined hardcover and e-book. Empty Mansions has been on The Los Angeles Times list for 22 weeks so far, peaking at No. 3 in hardcover and No. 1 in paperback.

Quote: various Best-Seller-Lists

UK: Atlantic Brazil: Objectiva China: China Renmin Univ. Press Italy: Neri Pozza

Quote: Client

A film version of Empty Mansions has been announced, with the option purchased by Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, American Horror Story, and Nip/Tuck. Ryan also produced and directed Eat Pray Love, Running with Scissors, The Normal Heart, and The New Normal.

Quote: Film announcement

Abundantly Wealthy, But Not Living It Up

Review: New York Times

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