All About Joyce:
Read about Joyce's two mystery series: the Betty Trenka series and the Lady Margaret Priam series.
Find out what Lady Margaret Priam and Prince Paul Castrocani have to say!
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Prince Paul Castrocani
JC: The first thing I said when I met Prince Paul Castrocani was "I've never met a prince before, what should I do?" (Dumb, I know, but he's so gorgeous that I was almost tongue-tied.)
Paul: You do not need to curtsey, if that is what you think is necesssary. My family hasn't "ruled" anything for centuries, and even then it was just a damp old villa in the countryside. Nobody gave us any respect in any case.
JC: No, I mean, what should I call you?
Paul: If you shout "Prince," I expect a handsome Golden Retriever will appear. I suggest you stick with a simple "Paul." How do you like my place? I was interviewing Paul at his rather nice apartment in Chelsea in Manhattan. Three or four apartments in the building, his up one flight and into a remarkably ornate living room. Lots of gilded mirrors, an ornate chandelier hanging from the ceiling, lots of fat, comfortable chairs, and some lovely landscapes on the walls that looked like Italy.
JC: Very nice. I imagine.... (I was going to say that it was probably a very expensive place, but he seemed to read my mind.)
Paul: The building is owned by my mother, so I don't have to pay rent at all. She selected the furnishings, of course. She has delusions of grandeur, but she can easily afford them. Tell me, what would you like to know about me?
JC: Well, how do you happen to be a prince, things like that?
Paul: My father is Prince Aldo Castrocani. He still lives near Rome. My mother is now Carolyn Sue Hoopes. She was touring Italy as a blonde Texas beauty about twenty-five years ago, and managed to captivate my father to the point of marriage. Of course, her substantial wealth played some part in the enchantment. Alas the marriage did not survive, but this little prince did. For a while, when I was younger, my mother was far more willing to support me in a fairly luxurious lifestyle, but my stepfather, Benton Hoopes thought I should earn a living. But I kept the prince, so as to achieve desirable tables in restaurants and be invited to parties where I could meet lovely young women, many of them quite as well funded as my mother. Money is so useful. I'm rather following in my father's footsteps. (That pretty much killed any thought that Paul might have an interest in me. I'm certainly not "well funded" to the degree some New York society girls are. Never mind, it was enough just to look at him for a while.)
JC: And so you grew up in Italy?
Paul: My youngest years were spent there, but my father sent me to school in Switzerland because he thought I would meet a better class of people. (He smiled. It was heartstopping. I must get over my crush on Prince Paul.) I did, rich boys, boys with more meaningful titles than mine. Certainly I returned home for long visits. Then I came to America to study at a university for a time, but I always went back to Europe when time and my mother's money allowed. Those were wonderful days. Sun on the Riviera, skiing in the Alps, beautiful women, the best clubs and restaurants. I had a grand car, so I was free to roam everywhere pleasure was to be found. I had a car here in New York for a time, but it was far too much worry. When my mother remarried, I would visit her in Texas, but except for the agreeable living conditions, I do not much care for the place. My stepfather Ben did not care for the life I was leading, so he arranged a job in banking for me, but I was not a great success. Now I do nothing. I must find a purpose.
JC: I asked Lady Margaret what she hoped to do with her life. She said she didn't care to think of herself as a solver of crimes...
Paul interrupted me at that point.
Paul: She must stop this detecting. She lures me into helping her, and I do not wish to be involved!
JC: You're good friends, then.
Paul: She is the best of women. If she were closer to my age, I would consider her a suitable mate, but she is attached to my housemate, Sam De Vere of the New York Police, although even he has difficulty in curbing her sleuthing. But I admit that she does not go about finding crimes. They seem to happen around her. Do you think it is something about her that attracts evil-doers?
JC: I didn't get that feeling when talking to her. Now, I must ask you, you only have a faint accent....
Paul: Although Italian is my first language, I have spoken English or French most of my life. My mother insisted on English, as she never learned fluent Italian in spite of the years she spent with my father. Perhaps they did not converse much.
JC: Tell me about your likes and dislikes. Clothes, music, food.
Paul: I am fond of Armani, but my mother says he is not the right designer for me, so I defer to her well-studied sense of style. I enjoy going to the clubs in New York, and will listen to whatever music is popular there. I do not understand rap music, but I have a fondness for the old rock groups, like the Rolling Stones. I was once devoted to jazz of all kinds, but I do not listen much to it any more except for background music. My father tried to make me appreciate opera, and I must say, I do like Verdi and Puccini, but that may be in the blood. I like good food of any kind, but when I find an excellent Italian restaurant in New York, like San Domenico, you will find me there often, especially if someone else is paying the bill. I was strongly tempted to invite him to dinner at San Domenico, but decided that I couldn't allow him to manipulate me that way. JC: I suppose you are invited out a lot.
Paul: Ah, these society women. They will do anything to get a title attached to a presentable young man to their parties and balls, so naturally, I am much in demand. (Fortnately, he seemed a bit ashamed of his words.) I mean to say that titles are important to them, and there is always a shortage of men willing to don evening clothes and dance with old ladies who give the money to charity. It is only right that I offer my assistance in these charitable ventures. Ah! You asked earlier what I wished to do with my life. I know I do not care for banking, but my mother owns part of a hotel here in New York. I think I would be well suited to hotel work, if she would consent to giving me a job.
JC: The Villa d'Este is lovely. I talked with Lady Margaret there.
Paul: On the other hand, perhaps I am not yet too old to be a Formula One racer. I do so like fast, beautiful cars...
JC: But that's so dangerous...
And Paul looked at me in the most seductive way that I could imagine him saying, "Not as dangerous as I am."