Washington Wives

Maureen Dean, Author Arbor House $17.95 (315p) ISBN 978-0-87795-721-8
Who was showering with White House chief of staff Bradford Barry when he died of a heart attack? The question is central to her debut novel, but Dean (Mo: A Woman's View of Watergate) doesn't let it sidetrack her from leading the reader on an amusing, sometimes pleasingly irreverent tour through Washington's halls of power. The three women suspected of dallying with Barry are married to men being tapped for his job and each is determined to help her husband win out. Sinclaire Ives, a generous once-and-future tart, grabs for the brass ring by starting rumors of a sex scandal involving a rival candidate. Thoroughly rude words are exchanged when that candidate's politely alcoholic wife, Caroline Riggs, hears of this perfidy, leaving the field to Jan Kirkland, the only spouse left with her own position in the administration, as well as a direct line to the president from her onetime CIA spook father. Dean's descriptions of the fight for glory on the disftaff side of the Washington power play are wryly sympathetic rather than bitchy, and most of her characters are engaging enough to follow suit. Though she stretches the bounds of credibility at times, it all adds up to an entertaining romp. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-55773-103-6
Hardcover - 501 pages - 978-0-89621-129-2
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