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NO WAY TO TREAT A FIRST LADY by Christopher Buckley Kirkus Star


by Christopher Buckley

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2002
ISBN: 0-375-50734-5
Publisher: Random House

Wicked humorist Buckley shoots fish in a barrel and makes them dance.

The targets in this sendup of Washington—trial lawyers, first families, Court TV, MSNBC, Dan Rather, the FBI, the Secret Service, and the American appetite for the awful—are the last decade’s scandals, which, rather than being gluey and unbearable in the reheating, are even more fun this time around. The setup is the death of America’s philanderer-in-chief Ken McMann after an exhausting round of hide the salami with songwriter, mother of mercy to the Middle East, and extremely generous campaign donor Babette Van Anka in the Lincoln bedroom. The game was complicated by the strange refusal of the executive salami to de-tumesce, and US president made it back to his own bedroom in the small hours only to run into the buzzsaw of a wide-awake Elizabeth Tyler “Beth” McMann, First Lady of the Land. There was the usual and, considering the situation, thoroughly justifiable screaming fight, but the couple eventually tucked in for the night. Alas, dawn revealed a dead president and, since the presidential forehead bore the imprint of Paul Revere’s mark from the bottom of the sterling spittoon hurled by Mrs. M., the new First Widow is charged with murder. To her rescue comes Boyce “Shameless” Baylor, America’s top trial lawyer, the man who successfully defended athletic wife murderer J. J. Bronco. It’s not the first meeting for Beth and Boyce. Before she threw him over for handsome, hard-charging war hero Ken McMann in law school, Beth and Boyce had been an item. And, although it was she who picked up the phone and called for help, she can’t help wondering whether, being still a little sore at her, he might throw the match. But Baylor’s competitive instincts are as unquenchable as the late president’s lust, and Beth is still a dish. The battle is joined. It’s a lulu.

Unspeakably and endlessly funny. Unless you’re a former president.