Opium et Moi

Every perfume is a unique work of art, no different than a piece of music or a painting in its ability to evoke feelings in its audience. In 1976, Yves Saint Laurent fell in love with the idea of creating a new perfume that would convey the lush, sensual mood of the name he had already chosen, OPIUM.

Working with Yves, his personal and business partner Pierre, and so many others in the world of high fashion and fragrance could be exhilarating, infuriating, and often, a simmering pot-au-feu threatening to boil over. This narrative takes you behind the scenes, providing a glimpse of that fascinating world and the people who kept it spinning.

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Orgasme…Made in France

The extraordinary success of Orgasme perfume by Jean-Pierre Armand, the world’s leading fashion designer, attracts the attention of Joe Regalia, a small time player in the import-export business. Joe obtains financial backing from his boyhood friends, Tony Marino, head of the largest crime family in New York, and Sam Risen, an attorney and Tony’s silent partner, to import and distribute Orgasme through the gray market while laundering the Organization’s illicit income.

Motivated by greed and envy, and unbeknownst to his partners, Joe decides to also sell counterfeit Orgasme, bringing on unwanted attention. Concerned about the potential impact on the money laundering operation, Sam decides to silence Bryan Thomas, President of Aberdeen, Ltd., Orgasme’s manufacturer, leading the fight against the gray market and counterfeiting.

Meanwhile, seething with life-long resentment, believing he is the real genius behind Jean-Pierre’s success, Philippe Chaudée, his lover and cunning, driven business manager, is secretly planning to establish a new fashion house under his own name to sponsor young aspiring designers—with or without Jean-Pierre’s concurrence. Paris, New York, Washington, and Zurich provide the principal backdrops for this complex unfolding drama in which murder is the fashion of choice by those driven to let no one stand in their way.

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Silent Partners

Noted Italian fashion designer Giorgio Donati is gunned down in front of his Greenwich Village town house in a professional style hit amid rumors of the designer’s connection to the Mafia. New York City Detective Frank Egan, assigned to investigate the murder, quickly identifies several individuals with strong motives to see the designer dead: his sister, Francesca, and several trusted employees of Donati’s company. Only the designer’s brother, Fabio, appears above suspicion. Working outside formal boundaries with Greg Harris, an FBI agent noted for his break-up of the Gianelli Family’s criminal empire years earlier, Frank learns of a Mafia connection in the initial financing of the Donati business, which might still exist. It is only after the discovery of similar style murders in Los Angeles and another in New York that the puzzle becomes clearer. As the drama unfolds against the background of the fashion business, the intrigues of its participants, and the Mafia’s use of this industry to launder its ill-gotten gains, evidence of guilt becomes apparent. But as the exciting conclusion demonstrates, appearances can be deceiving.

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If Low Taxes Create Jobs, Where Are They?

Do low income tax rates result in more job creation than do higher rates? The answer to this question is not a matter of opinion. There are historical records with facts that support or refute this premise and enable one to determine whether such a correlation actually exists. Yet the increasing staccato of voices from the right and left proclaiming their ideological viewpoint to be correct without bothering to provide any substantiation leaves the truly independent individual in a quandary. But no more. Robert H. Miller, a retired senior corporate executive and CPA, provides an unbiased, objective and most definitely non-ideological answer to that question with the facts to support it, and in a manner that can be readily understood by even the most partisan politician or beleaguered bureaucrat.

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