After my talk, the first question set the tone: 'How much money did you make from The American Way of Death?' 'Absolute tons,' I answered, 'So much I can't even count it - it made me fortune.' Audible groans from the crowd. 'Next question?'
The middle part of the book is primarily concerned with Decca's own books and journalism and her researches into the funeral industry, the prison system and maternity care. Her correspondents included Maya Angelou, Hillary Clinton and Katherine Graham. Her most regular correspondent within the family seems to have been her sister Deborah, the Duchess of Devonshire. Even they had their spats though, most notably when a family scrapbook went missing from the Duchess' home, Chatsworth and she strongly believed that Decca had taken it and used its contents in one of her memoirs.
The letters towards the end of her life contain more reminiscences, often in reply to people writing books about one or other of the Mitfords. She seemed to mellow a bit in her old age. I have to admit that for all I admire her I think I would've found her a bit intimidating. She seems like she was quite demanding and, being quite thick skinned herself, she wasn't very sensitive to the feelings of others.
Finally, I love the cover of this book. The red cover and the font are reminiscent of Soviet propaganda posters, which of course is appropriate because of Decca's membership of the Communist Party.