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Hard Copy: Reporter Pens Killer Newsroom Novel

Aug 4, 2008 (Fresh Air from WHYY)

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As a journalist, John Darnton spent 40 years at The New York Times, working as a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent.

He covered Africa and Eastern Europe, winning two George Polk Awards; for stories smuggled out of Poland during martial law, he received a Pulitzer Prize.

As a novelist, Darnton is perhaps less sober a scribe: His Indiana Jones-ish Neanderthal involves a lost tribe of hominids, governmental chicanery and a pair of ex-lover archaeologist heroes, and The Darwin Conspiracy puts the evolutionary theorist at the center of an elaborate fraud-and-murder plot.

And Darnton's latest murder mystery — Black and White and Dead All Over — is set in the newsroom of a major daily that might be familiar to readers of his former paper.

The first victim? An editor, of course.

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