BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend - Stephen Bach: HarperCollins, pounds 8.99

Showbiz biographies don't come much heftier than this: 600-odd pages including an excellent filmography. The book strives to get behind the legend and to answer questions (Where was she born? What exactly was her relationship with her mysterious mentor Josef von Sternberg? Why did she never divorce the husband she hardly ever saw?) on which Dietrich herself was permanently cagey. There is a deliciously overstuffed prose style, and other pleasures include inconsequential insights into the star's personal habits, such as her preference for economy-size jars of Boots' cold cream.

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