Title: "Pot of Gold"Author: Judith MichaelPublisher...

BOOK BRIEFS

February 27, 1994|By BARBARA SAMSON MILLS Title: "The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939" Author: John Carey Publisher: St. Martin's Length, price: 246 pages, $19.95 | BARBARA SAMSON MILLS Title: "The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939" Author: John Carey Publisher: St. Martin's Length, price: 246 pages, $19.95,LOS ANGELES TIMES Title: "Dead Eyes" Author: Stuart Woods Publisher: HarperCollins Length, price: 303 pages, $22

Title: "Pot of Gold"

Author: Judith Michael

Publisher: Poseidon

Length, price: 460 pages, $23 Claire Goddard does what many people do -- she buys a lottery ticket each day and lets herself drift into fantasies of untold riches. Only this day Claire wins -- $60 million!

She takes her daughter Emma, whom she has raised by herself, on a shopping spree -- several in fact. From the white Mercedes to designer clothes to the million-dollar mansion, Claire can hardly realize that her checkbook will never again hit rock bottom. Mother and daughter now embark on an upper-echelon cruise, where they meet wealthy businessman Quentin Eiger and his son Brix, who has a propensity for messing up everything that falls into his hands. Both women are soon besotted by the duo and run into serious and potentially fatal situations.

Romance, sex, drugs (and eventually true love) all present themselves to the women in rapid succession -- so rapid in fact that it is hard to keep track of their adventures. This potboiler is a little too unbelievable to ring the least bit true.

In 1905, British poet T. W. H. Crosland published "The Suburbans," a book in which he attacked suburban dwellers for being "a low, inferior species," having the gall to frequent "idiotic free libraries" and show a "mean, discreditable suburban rush" for low-priced classics. Crosland is largely forgotten today, of course, but as Oxford professor John Carey points out, his views were not unique: They were shared, to one degree or another, by many of his more distinguished contemporaries, from D. H. Lawrence to Virginia Woolf, Wyndham Lewis to T. S. Eliot, H. G. Wells to W. B. Yeats.

Dr. Carey isn't exactly fair to some of these writers -- he's too hard on E. M. Forster and Aldous Huxley, for example -- but he does demonstrate how broadly the intellectual class' fear of "the masses" ran. Eliot suggested that the number of students receiving higher education in the United States and England be cut by two-thirds; J. B. Priestley commented that the crowds gathered for the coronation of George VI in 1937 most probably "did not know how to make love or even to eat and drink properly"; Lawrence, in 1908, even imagined collecting "the sick, the halt, the maimed" in order to gas them in "a lethal chamber as big as the Crystal Palace."

Dr. Carey attributes such anger toward the masses primarily to the intellectuals' fear of losing "their" civilization. "The Intellectuals and the Masses" is an engaging book, and one finishes it hoping for a volume in which he expands his analysis, for better or worse, to American literature.

At first, the letters were odd but seemed harmless enough. As movie actress Chris Callaway knew, fan letters are simply part of the profession. But there was an edge to the letters signed "Admirer." After an accident robs Chris of her sight, she calls in the police. The Beverly Hills Police Department sends in Jon Larsen, a one-man stalker squad. As Jon starts working on the case, the Admirer's letters and pranks take on deadly meaning.

"Dead Eyes" is Stuart Woods' 11th novel, which range from an invasion of Sweden ("Deep Lie"), to a multigenerational police procedural ("Chiefs"). Unfortunately, "Dead Eyes" is a rehash of a genre that has been visited many times before -- a stalker hunting a celebrity. Although the author moves the plot along at a brisk pace, there are several nagging problems with the thriller. Both Chris and Jon are only marginally interesting characters. The Admirer is never fully realized as an evil character. Due to that omission, a clever twist at the end is without dramatic edge.

The result is a thriller that is readable but hardly thrilling.

BOB BAYLUS

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