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Strange Country

Sometimes you need to have a glass of wine, cuppa whatever and listen to a good old weird story. Musical score Resting Place by A Cast of Thousands.

Sep 22, 2022

In 1971, middling author Clifford Irving was able to convince a giant publisher that he landed the white whale—the autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. This was a guaranteed best seller. Problem was, Irving had made the whole thing up. Strange Country co-hosts Beth and Kelly discuss this literary con and how it all came crashing down.

Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands

Cite your sources:

Grimes, William. “Clifford Irving, Author of a Notorious Literary Hoax, Dies at 87 (Published 2017).” The New York Times, 20 December 2017, Accessed 4 September 2022.

Irving, Clifford. “The Movie.” Clifford Irving, 2006,

Linklater, Magnus, et al. Hoax: The Inside Story of the Howard Hughes - Clifford Irving Affair. Viking Press, 1972. Accessed 4 September 2022.

Loria, Kevin. “What Motivates Con Artists?” Business Insider, 12 February 2016, Accessed 9 September 2022.

Smith, Harrison. “Clifford Irving, whose 'autobiography' of Howard Hughes nearly fooled the nation, dies at 87.” The Washington Post, 21 December 2017, Accessed 29 August 2022.