Unsolved criminal mysteries have profound pull power. So for centuries folks around the world will be debating if Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted a maid in a Manhattan hotel. The Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. eventually tossed the case but the questions remain compelling.
Recently, journalist John Solomon published the book "DSK: The scandal that brought down Dominique Strauss-Kahn." What we know after reading it that we might not have before are some of the facts of the case such as the evidence collected, statements by the plaintiff which did change during the investigation, timelines, and the players behind the media circus. Despite the book, what we do not know is if Strauss-Kahn did the alleged deed. Instead, we are still left with the possibility that he had been set up.
Ironically the book might reinforce that possibility with its presentation of Diallo as a woman with a documented pattern of telling lies when it fits with her self-interest. If she lied about this and that, why should anyone believe she did not lie about what took place in that hotel room. She could have been paid to offer sex to a man who had a weakness for it.
The tragic flaw of this book is the same one in Bob Woodward's later work. And that's the peculiar habit of positing what might have gone on in the minds of those discussed. On Huffingon Post Edward Jay Epstein points that problem out. How did Solomon know what DSK was thinking or not thinking after his arrest?
Another difficulty with the book is that Solomon lapses into gossip. Gossip, as we all know, sells everything, including books. But including it can undermine the credibility of what's published. Solomon takes some detailed pokes at NEWSWEEK head Tina Brown as a incorrigible self-promoter. One wonders why. That's the kind of stuff for GAWKER or TMZ. Is Solomon envious that Brown sure knows how to create buzz, no matter what that requires?
So, we enter this Labor Day weekend not much more enlightened about this criminal puzzle than we have been about who shot John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Meanwhile, DSK's career is in tatters. Had he not been entangled in this mess, he might have been able, as head of the International Monetary Fund, to save the European economy.