It is always a thrill to come across a writer whose style really works for you. I’ve recently found that with the “political” novels of Richard Condon. I’ve posted briefly about his JFK based novel “Winter Kills”, and I’ve just finished “Death of a Politician.”
The book tells the story of the investigation into the 1964 murder of former Vice President Walter Bodmor Slurrie, a (very) thinly veiled pastiche of Richard Nixon, who is on the verge of becoming the mob’s first handpicked president.
It manages to be vicious and wry, and is packed with mirror images of Howard Hughes, Thomas Dewey, and the Rockefellers, amongst others. As with other Condon books, he assumes that the reader has a knowledge about the times and personalities, and spends most of the book poking fun at the sleazy intersection between politics and corruption.
As with “Winter Kills”, Condon holds off resolving the murder until the very last page, an old fashioned concept that works surprisingly well in today’s age of padded value-for-money novels. There really is a lot to be said for the short novel.
By the way, it was first published in 1978, so you might find it a bit tricky to find. My copy was found in the second hand section of the always excellent Chapters bookshop, the crack cocaine of book junkies like me, of which I cannot say enough.