ECCENTRICS: Clifford & Edith & Howard & Helga

THE Hughes affair appeared last week to be headed toward a denouement. Its elaborate mysteries began to unravel a bit. Its bafflements still invited ingenious hypotheses, yet it seemed likely that after episodes as odd as the circumstances of Howard Hughes' own life, the truth of the matter was about to emerge. In a reverse jigsaw-puzzle effect, the outlines of the truth began to take form as Author Clifford Irving's account of how he had assembled the Hughes manuscript began to crumble.

The initial break concerned the identity of "Helga R. Hughes," the...

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