CRIME: The Law and the Irvings

The hoax, which had once seemed a thing of dazzling design and theatrical performance, thumped toward an anticlimax. Last week Clifford Irving's elaborate production, the false autobiography of Howard Hughes, was replayed in lumpy, legalistic prose as two grand juries in New York indicted Irving and his wife Edith. One of the juries also indicted their burly collaborator, Writer-Researcher Richard Suskind.

In the indictments, the New York and federal grand juries agreed on the essentials: Irving and Suskind concocted the Hughes "autobiography" 1) through extensive research into material already published about the billionaire, 2) from a pilfered manuscript written by...

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