Can you identify this peculiar genealogical thriller?
August 11, 2014 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Some time in the mid-to-late '80s, I borrowed a book from my local public library (in the UK). I recall neither its title nor the author's name, but I think it may nevertheless be uniquely identifiable from those details of its plot I can remember. Its protagonist is a genealogist, who is hired to discreetly research the family background of a US presidential candidate. There is an element of cat-&-mouse as unknown individuals try to put a stop to his researches, but he perseveres...

...eventually learning of a hitherto unsuspected history of Huntington's Chorea in the candidate's lineage: just as, meanwhile, the candidate is beginning to exhibit some early symptoms of the same condition. While this plot unfolds, there are a couple of points where the protagonist (or another central character) has an enema, not, to the best of my recollection, for any medical reason, but as a part of some spa treatment (or the like). The enemas are altogether incidental to the main story, but the protagonist or author goes into a certain amount of detail about their benefits and pleasures, in such a way that one might presume this was a real-life foible of the author's, that he (I believe the author was male) couldn't resist incorporating into his book. The book was a relatively slender hardback volume. I think the author's surname may have begun with a 'C'. I don't even want to read it again, but am just curious to confirm its real-world existence!
posted by zmacw49 to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Duncan Kyle, The Dancing Men?

(Bit more of a write up here)
posted by Hartster at 6:38 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Dancing Men by Duncan Kyle (1985) (described here).
posted by effbot at 6:40 AM on August 11, 2014

Response by poster: That has to be it! - thank you Hartster and effbot. I don't know if I'm remembering the enema thing from a different book altogether... but that has to be the genealogy-related plot I had in mind.
posted by zmacw49 at 6:51 AM on August 11, 2014

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