The Lost Diary of M

Written by Paul Wolfe
Review by Helen Piper

In 1964, Washington socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer was murdered during her daily walk in Georgetown. The murder remains unsolved to this day, and rumors about a CIA-sanctioned hit have been swirling for years, as Meyer was a longtime lover of JFK, the sister-in-law of the Washington Post’s Ben Bradlee, and an ex-wife of CIA-chief Cord Meyer. There has also been endless speculation that the CIA made sure that her tell-all diary was never found.

The supposed diary of Mary Pinchot Meyer serves as the spine of Wolfe’s engrossing debut, The Lost Diary of M. The diary format works incredibly well in this instance due to Wolfe’s tantalizing writing and deep insight into the political machinations of the era. Wolfe knows the historic details of that time, place and jargon. His descriptions of the smoke-filled and alcohol-fueled Washington parties are so vivid that I almost feel like I’m there (but thankfully without the following hangover). This is a rewarding novel that challenges your initial opinions about established 1960s history, an era that I have studied in close detail. I highly recommend this book. I read it in one sitting because it was so captivating.