Conspiracy theories abound in this week’s tabloids, or is everyone plotting against us?

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

"Princess Grace was murdered!” says the National Examiner, explaining that an Italian mob-connected syndicate tampered with her car's brakes, and then “injected air into her veins, causing a stroke” as she lay in hospital. Presumably because they knew the crash wouldn’t kill her, and had a hit-man disguised as an orderly stationed at the hospital with syringe at the ready. Sounds likely to me.

Australian government official Simon Dorante-Day claims he is heir to the British throne, the victim of a conspiracy by the Royal Family and his parents - Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles - who cruelly gave him up for adoption 50 years ago, according to the Globe. Which would also boost his nine children ahead of Prince William in the line of succession for the crown. Sounds like a reality TV show waiting to happen.

“Bloodthirsty terrorists hiding in secret cells in North America are plotting to unleash a horrific attack on soft targets in the U.S.,” explains the Globe, which provides a helpful list in case ISIS needs some guidance finding places to strike: Disney World, the Mall of America, Washington D.C., Hollywood Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and New Orleans. It’s only surprising that they didn't print Ted Cruz’s home address and add that to the list.

Frank Sinatra Jr was “murdered by the mob,” says the Examiner - because a 72-year-old dying of a heart attack is innately suspicious in the world of the tabloids. Junior may have “inherited” his father’s “mobster pals,” who could have “jeopardized his life if he didn’t do their bidding,” explains Hollywood private investigator Paul Huebl, using an investigative technique known in the argot of the spycraft trade as ‘pure speculation.’

"Sean ‘Diddy' Combs masterminded the cold-blooded slaying of his recording rival Tupac Shakur,” claims the Globe, according to a former Los Angeles police officer. Because an LA cop would know what happened during a Las Vegas drive-by shooting.

It’s intriguing to see how the National Enquirer is soft-pedaling on its report last week about Ted Cruz and his alleged "five secret mistresses.” This week the Enquirer says that it was simply reporting “rumors” that claimed Cruz “may have” had five affairs. Wavering in their certainty? Or is the Trump-loving mag actually trying to show some journalistic restraint? Nah.

Angelina Jolie’s continued weight loss has become the Enquirer’s favorite sport - a death watch! - as she allegedly “shrinks to a shocking 79 lbs.” Husband Brad Pitt is “in despair,” and “friends fear she’s losing a brave battle and is in danger of suffering severe organ failure and possibly death!” The “Enquirer Secret Medical File” claims “cancer [is] eating her alive” as she suffers “anorexia & paranoia.” Then again, if the Enquirer was scrutinizing every iota of my life, I’d lose my appetite and feel that strangers were scrutinizing me. “Dying Angie” just can’t win.

Most redundant tabloid headline: “No Jail Can Hold ‘Prison Houdini,’” claims the Examiner, in a story about Mark DeFriest, who is being held . . . in prison. Where he has been for 36 years. Behind bars.

This week's best feature to cut out and pin to your refrigerator door: the Examiner’s two-page spread devoted to “America’s Sexiest Military Men” - a collage of photos of medal-bedecked generals and admirals in uniform, looking square-jawed and giving thousand-yard steely-eyed stares. “The stars on these heroes’ shoulders denote their rank . . . and hotness!” the story adds. Which finally explains the previously secret process the Pentagon employs to promote its five star generals: judging how they look in a Speedo.

In real news, Us magazine tells us that Kristin Cavallari wore it best, actor Eugene Levy claims to have a pet scorpion named Stingy, actress Wendie Malick carries eyeliner, almonds and an American Express card in her washable neon orange tote bag, and the stars are just like us: they hug their kids, sit on park benches, shop at farmers’ markets, play soccer and surf the waves.

'Dancing With The Stars’ contestant Jodie Sweetin “is five years sober, engaged and on fire!” says Us mag, which devotes its cover and six pages to her life lesson: “Never give up.” Great advice, Jodie. I checked all the photos, and couldn’t see any evidence of her being on fire, however. Perhaps they put her out before the photo shoot?

The Republican presidential front-runner is given the People magazine cover, in a special report asking: “Who Is The Real Donald Trump?” Well . . . who is he? Despite eight pages of coverage, People mag admits that it has no idea. “Who can know the real Trump when he deflects serious questions with non sequiturs?” confesses the report. As Trump explains: “You don’t want people to know you that well.” An unnamed source tells the mag: ”He’s a genius at telling people what they want to hear.” We just have to trust him, says Trump: “I know what I’m doing. I’m a smart person. The highest level of smart.”

And he’d know, wouldn’t he, because no-one gets smarter than the highest level of smart.

Onwards and downwards . . .