The Biden Connection

Anybody got a copy of "The Double Man," the 1985 spy novel co-authored by Gary Hart? Please send it immediately to Thomas Gifford in NYC. Gifford still hasn't read Hart's book and the media is making his life heck trying to find out if he thinks that Hart and Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine) plagiarized his 1978 spy novel "The Glendower Legacy."

The brouhaha started when the Guardian of London, upon the English debut of Hart's "Double" in paperback, published an article outlining a number of alleged similarities between "Double" and "Glendower," including suspiciously similar major characters, plotlines and other details. Hart has denied ever reading Gifford's book and Sen. Cohen has reacted hotly to press queries on the matter.

But Gifford--the alleged aggrieved party--can't offer an opinion: "I've tried everywhere to find a copy of (Hart's book)--the reporters (in NYC) have simply picked the stores clean."

Gifford was visiting his mom in Dubuque, Iowa, when the snit hit the fan. "ABC and CBS chartered planes to fly crews into Dubuque to discuss it (with me)," Gifford told us, right after getting off the phone with USA Today. "I think they desperately wanted me to say that Hart had stolen my book. People were arriving at 1 a.m. at my apartment trying to get a copy of my book. ABC has even been finding people out of my past asking them questions.

"When I got back to New York, there must have been 20 messages from the Daily News, the Post and others."

A Washington Post editor mailed him a copy of "Double"--which was adapted into a floppo Elliot Gould-Kate Jackson flick, "Dirty Tricks"--but it apparently got lost in the mail.

"I'd love to read it," Gifford said, "if I could find it."

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