Monica pulls in the crowds

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The Independent Online
JUST IN case the Starr report, Bill Clinton's impeachment trial and assorted television interviews missed some wrinkle in the case, the authorised biography of Monica Lewinsky was officially published yesterday.

Booksellers across the country reported keen interest and brisk trade, although precise first-day sales figures will not be available until today. The launch followed Thursday evening's interview with Ms Lewinsky on Channel 4, which was watched by more than three million viewers.

The initial print run of Monica's Story, written by Andrew Morton and published by Michael O'Mara books, will be 100,000 copies, vast by conventional hardback standards and twice as many as the initial run of Diana: Her True Story.

The former White House intern arrives in Britain this weekend for an 18-day book-signing tour that begins at the Harrods branch of Waterstone's in London on Monday. Zelda Suite-Pedler, the branch's marketing manager, said customers were ringing up every three minutes to reserve of a copy. "This is the biggest signing we've had here, the interest has been phenomenal," she said. "The other major signing was Margaret Thatcher and that was huge."

President Clinton said yesterday that he hoped Monica Lewinsky would be able to "get on with her life" and that things would work out for her. Answering reporters' questions in his first public appearance since Ms Lewinsky gave her side of their affair in two television interviews and her book, Mr Clinton said: "I don't wish anyone ill who was caught up in this, and she paid quite a high price for a long time, and I feel badly for that. So I just hope it works out all right. What I hope is that she will be permitted to go on with her life."