With a verdict in the criminal trial of Brooke Astor’s son Anthony Marshall imminent, David Patrick Columbia’s New York Social Diary takes its latest contrarian’s look at the subject and at the unindicted yet publicly convicted co-conspirator, Marshall’s second wife, Charlene. “Whether you like to think of her that way [or] not, Brooke Astor, maybe a typical mother-in-law, was for years unkind and off-handed about her daughter-in-law,” Columbia writes. “That must have been an embarrassment (not to mention hurtful) to her son. Others are not fazed by that kind of embarrassment, as long as it’s not them. Furthermore, the players in the world of Brooke Astor are anything but angelic. And when it comes to greed and avarice, we’re now talking Derby winners. Charlene Marshall was a mere workhorse, and, mind you, regarded pretty much as that by Mrs. Astor’s circle. In other words: Not Our Kind. This kind of behavior is commonplace in that world, even ordinary. Read Edith Wharton. She never exaggerated and it remains la même chose.” The story isn’t over, Columbia concludes. You betcha. The next chapter is the battle over which of Astor’s wills will be honored, the one pitting stalwarts of New York’s cultural mafia like the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and their intertwined boards of trustees (the aforementioned players) against the already-judged-guilty-even-if-declared-innocent Marshall. Having spent years honing their legal chops in countless estate battles (see Rogues’ Gallery for the past-as-prologue, as well as portraits of some of the anything-but-angelic players), their lawyers are surely burning the midnight oil as they plan their grab for the remaining Astor millions. Let the sad and sordid games continue!