That is a Power, Privilege, and Justice episode and, as Dunne says within it, it is the basis for his second he says first, novel. I don’t think it is such a great story or episode of the show–Kansas beauty worms her way into millions–but he made it work.
They were the family with everything. Money. Influence. Glamour. Power. The power to halt a police investigation in its tracks. The power to spin a story, concoct a lie, and believe it was the truth. The power to murder without guilt, without shame, and without ever paying the price. America’s royalty, they called the Bradleys. But an outsider refuses to play his part. And now, the day of reckoning has arrived.
Above is the beginning of Season in Purgatory. It is not good writing.
Nonetheless, his novels are what propelled him into a household name. It is also true that his well-rated on the web.
Power, Privilege and Justice has high ratings on IMDB too. And this is over ten years after his death.
During the eighties and nineties he made it about as big as you could. His books sold and they were made into network miniseries. The casts were incredible. What more could a writer accomplish?
Maybe/probably I am a snob. With some exceptions, I tend to read novels for the writing, which includes story, characters, and everything else. “The power to halt a police investigation in its tracks” is not a sentence. Whenever possible I prefer to read things that are expertly written.
I have watched some other videos (e.g., Dunne’s autobiography After the Party) and have read some of his Vanity Fair pieces. They’re okay or even good sometimes, but like his novels, they do not do much for me.