Primary Colors mystery 'solved'

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Washington - The biggest US publishing whodunnit in years has been solved - maybe, writes Rupert Cornwell. According to a noted US literature professor, the author of the best-selling roman-a-clef, Primary Colors, whose identity has tantalised Washington for a month, is Joe Klein, the Newsweek political columnist. Such anyway is the answer offered by Donald Foster, a Vassar university professor in the forthcoming issue of the New Yorker, on the basis of an exhaustive stylistic comparison by computer between the book, a barely veiled, extremely well-informed account of Bill Clinton's 1992 primary campaign, and the writings of Mr Klein. Somewhat less than comprehensively, the alleged author is denying the charge. But from the outset he has been high on the list of suspects. Not only did Klein cover the 1992 action in New Hampshire (Gennifer Flowers, draft-dodging et al). He is also an expert on New York State politics, which are authoritatively touched upon in Primary Colors.

Novel reviewed, Weekend page 10