HOAX: The Inside Story of the Howard Hughes-Clifford Irving Affair by Stephen; Lewis Chester & Magnus Linklater Fay

HOAX: The Inside Story of the Howard Hughes-Clifford Irving Affair

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A month before The Book About the Book or that other courtroom deadline, Messrs. Fay, Chester and Linklater of the London Sunday Times have put the whole story together from its imperturbable flagrante to its distressing delicto. Since as you are told more than once here, this story took up more linage in the press than the war in Vietnam, there can be few people who are not familiar with most of it although it's nice to have a more orderly continuity as well as the many interlinear incidentals (e.g., publisher Lyle Stuart, annoyed by Hughes' attempts to thwart his publications, took a quick trip to Vegas, lost thirty thousand dollars at the tables and walked out saying ""Sue me""). The preposterous elements of so many concerned here are still puzzling: whether it's that the rather lazy if charming Irving with only a mediocre talent could carry through on such an agile and ambitious plan; or that Phelan, who wrote the draft for Dietrich which was then misappropriated by another nondescript malfeasant, so delayed in identifying the so-called Hughes' autobiography -- reversing himself on the way; or that two self-respecting publishers, not to mention the old and honorable firm of Osborn, Osborn & Osborn (handwriting experts), could have gone so wrong. Indeed Irving's rip-off does have ""class"" -- think of the Baroness or the ""Danish pastry""; and irony -- Fake-r de Hory's longtime companion bears the name of Mark Forgey; and of course the inveterate curiosity of Hughes himself, the best gambler-entrepreneur of ali sealed up alive in his germ-free Bahamian hogan. It all reads again and will be read again for its grandiose chutzpah if only to remind us, in the words of that lovable old cynic La Rochefoucauld, that ""We are never so easily deceived as when we imagine we are deceiving others.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1972
Publisher: Viking