The Empty Glass
On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe, an unparalleled icon of beauty and celebrity, died of an apparent drug overdose. With this, his first novel, J.I. Baker (executive editor at Condé Nast Traveler) fictionalizes the legend’s final days and the shroud of mystery surrounding her death—speculating that such a complex individual’s life may not have ended as simply as it seems. While once known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Monroe was also one of Hollywood’s most disturbed starlets. She heard voices and tried to escape the eyes that she was sure were always watching her from the windows of her Brentwood hacienda by submersing herself in a steady flow of barbiturates and Dom Pérignon. The Empty Glass reads like detective noir, only the dick in this story, Ben Fitzgerald, is a Los Angeles County coroner who becomes enamored with Monroe when he meets her on the job and absconds from the scene of her death with the actress’ diary, which presumably contains her last words and possibly the reason for her alleged suicide. Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Welk all make appearances—crossing paths with Baker’s character, who tries in vain to reveal the truth behind Monroe’s death.