The Franklin Affair
By Jim Lehrer
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780345468031, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 13, 2006
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“Three may keep a secret if two of ’em are dead.”
–Poor Richard’s Almanack[pg. 27 of mss]
R Taylor arrives in Philadelphia for the funeral of his longtime friend Dr. Wally Rush with a heavy heart. Not only has the world lost one of its preeminent, Pulitzer Prize—winning American Revolution historians, but R has lost his mentor, the man who led him to devote his life’s work to the study of “The First American,” Benjamin Franklin. The bond between them was sealed when R did Wally a favor that could never be revealed. But Wally saved one final secret for R, disclosed in a letter conveyed by the will’s executor.
Written in the slow, painful script of the professor’s last days, the note delivers an incredible bombshell. Wally, it seems, had stumbled upon twelve handwritten pages in a code commonly used by spies during the revolutionary war. The pages refer to George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, and level a shocking charge–that Benjamin Franklin committed a heinous crime.
Wally, not wanting to foul the image of his lifelong hero, had kept this monumental secret until his death. But as R races to unravel the mystery, he faces an onslaught of obstacles. Vicious blackmail, a threat of sabotage against his own career, and grave personal doubts threaten to overtake R as he struggles with a discovery that has the potential to completely alter the fabric of American history.
Rich with revelations, rife with the darkest depths of deceit and mystery, and enlightened by the unparalleled insights of America’s first patriots, The Franklin Affair is a tense, constantly surprising novel about the ultimate quest for truth and justice.
This is JIM LEHRER’s fifteenth novel. He is also the author of two memoirs and three plays and is the executive editor and anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his novelist wife, Kate. They have three daughters.
PRAISE FOR JIM LEHRER
The Franklin Affair
“This is an amazing as well as delightful novel. Historically savvy and revealing, it captures some fascinating controversies about Franklin’s life and provides a deft satire of the world of academic writers. Yet it’s also a fun tale of mystery, sleuthing, and romance done with great literary flair.”
–WALTER ISAACSON, author of Benjamin Franklin
“[A] touching novel about lost souls, loneliness, and life’s small triumphs . . . Lehrer’s fourteenth novel is an expertly researched, warmly told tale, rich in suspense and drama. . . . A highly personal story, quiet in tone and scope, yet booming in emotional intensity.”
The Special Prisoner
“[Lehrer] runs through his plot deftly. He springs surprise after surprise on the reader.”
–Los Angeles Times
No Certain Rest
“[Lehrer] writes quirky thrillers, swiftly paced with a cleverly concealed solution. . . . [No Certain Rest is] a rousing tale of intrigue.”
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Tender and tragic . . . entirely satisfying.”
–The Washington Post