Empty Mansions

When Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Bill Dedman noticed a real estate listing for a grand estate in Connecticut that had sat empty for nearly sixty years, he had no idea that he was stumbling onto one of the most surprising American stories of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries–complete with copper barons, Gilded Age opulence, backdoor politics, and a reclusive 104-year-old heiress.

Empty Mansions explores the fascinating life of Huguette Clark, an enigmatic figure who had not been photographed in public since the 1920s. Though she owned three palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, they sat vacant while she lived out her final two decades in a New York City hospital, despite being in excellent health.

Dedman and Huguette’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have had frequent conversations with Huguette, present a fairy tale told in reverse: a daughter born into privilege who in time…

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