By: David DiPino Contributing Writer
A book by author Sharon Geltner about a murder on Palm Beach intertwined into a humorous story about an unexplored world of charity, status seeking and social climbing has made its way off the island and onto Delray bookshelves at Hand’s Office and Art Supply, 325 E. Atlantic Ave. and Tootsie’s Shoes, 310 E. Atlantic Ave.
The story begins with Vincent Louis, a tabloid tycoon and big-time charity donor, being found murdered in the pool of his Palm Beach home. Without spoiling the plot, Justine Romanoff, an observant social worker working at a Palm Beach charity, finds herself smack dab in the middle of the scene and hungry to dig deeper to solve the murder case. Throughout the story Romanoff finds humor in aspects of Palm Beach life.
An experience Geltner had as a newspaper reporter where she was once told she’d be banned from Boca Raton by a philanthropist angry over her publishing information that the high-level donor was operating under a fake title got the wheels spinning in terms of her writing a book.
“Ideas for the book first came about once I began being aware of fundraising in the Palm Beach community and around the whole county,” Geltner said.
She began following the society pages closely following the latest galas, dinners and high profile events local philanthropists attended and combined that knowledge with experience of volunteering at several non-profit organizations.
“It’s a dynamic area we live in. I found it fascinating how unexplored the world of charity is. I would like to say it’s all based on altruism, doing the right thing and offering a helping hand. It’s not just people in gowns and tiaras. There’s politics involved too,” Geltner said.
She points out there’s just as many really great stories about charity involving a beloved parent, relative or friend who had cancer or another type of disease or health ailment and died, their name immortalized in awareness, support and research for the cause.
“I did work at non-profits for some time. The senseless humor Justine (protagonist in Charity Bashed) exhibits isn’t just peculiar to her. Social workers, who work at these charities, some of them have Master’s Degrees and are paid very little. There’s a juxtaposition or contrast. People are working these jobs as a labor of love. They have bills to pay. I did a lot of fundraising for these charities and the contrast was so great between the haves and have-nots, people who needed our services,” Gentler said.
Louis, the tabloid mogul found dead in his swimming pool at the beginning of Geltner’s book Charity Bashed has a coincidence with a strange set of circumstances surrounding a death on the island of Palm Beach. Soon after Geltner finished the book, Jeffrey Picower, an investor named in the Bernie Madoff investment scandal, whose estate later settled $7.2 billion in claims associated with the Madoff Ponzi Scheme, was actually found at the bottom of the pool at his oceanfront mansion and later died.
As a reporter, Geltner worked as a foreign correspondent in Israel, Cairo, Egypt, Lapland (in Finland) and Singapore, and here in the U.S for Knight Ridder newspapers. Geltner also worked as a book editor and she said that job helped her when it came time to craft, outline and organize the book. Today, Geltner is a business analyst with the Small Business Development Center at Palm Beach State College and President of Froogle PR.
“I think in terms of writing the book being a reporter helped me a lot. It gave me the discipline to just do it, to be observant with an eye for irony and detail,” Geltner said.
Geltner wrote Charity Bashed a few years back when she had two weeks off from a job over a holiday break. She wrote 14 hours a day for two straight weeks and finished the book.
The book is available on Amazon.com, via the Amazon Kindle electronic reading device, BarnesandNoble.com, via the Barnes & Noble® Nook tablet e-reader and has been reviewed on Goodreads.com.
By: David DiPino Contributing Writer