In November, TNN’s Frank Gannon wrote about the appearance in Tina Brown’s Daily Beast of an excerpt from The Pink Lady, the new biography by Sally Denton of Helen Gahagan Douglas, the actress-turned-Congressperson who was defeated by then-Rep. Richard Nixon for the U.S. Senate in 1950.
Denton’s book is now in the stores, and is reviewed in the current issue of the New York Times Book Review by Thomas Mallon, the eminent historical novelist and critic. He criticizes the biography for many of the same faults (sketchy research, questionable assumptions) that Frank found in the excerpt.
What really grabbed my attention, however, is the notice at the review’s conclusion that Mallon is now at work on a novel about Watergate. His 2007 novel Fellow Travelers is an expert study of Washington during the McCarthy era, with RN as a supporting character, so I am very keen to see how he’ll write about the days of ’72 and ’73.
(Here, it’s worth mentioning that longtime Washington journalist Roy Hoopes died a few weeks ago at the age of 87. His best-known books are Our Man In Washington, a mystery story starring H. L. Mencken, and the definitive biography of novelist James M. Cain, but his last book, A Watergate Tape, is also the most recent novel that I know of about that affair.)