MUSWELL HILL PEOPLE

How Andrew Morton met 'Mon'
diana.gif (4975 bytes)Andrew Morton is a busy man. Not only is he embarking on an international tour promoting his new and revelatory biography of Monica Lewinsky entitled Monica's Story, but Ms Lewinsky herself could be dropping in for a visit to his   home. The former White House intern arrives in London on Sunday.

"You might see Monica on Hampstead Heath," he told me this week.AAmonica.gif (7612 bytes)

The story of how Mr Morton got his scoop is as much a result of Fleet Street gossip-mongering than calculated journalistic manoeuvring. "In a way, it was pure serendipity," he said.

He was at home one rainy afternoon last year when a reporter from the Sunday Express asked whether it was true he was doing a book on Monica. As he wasn't he said no, but the next day the Daily Telegraph published a similar piece.

Then the American press got wind of the story, and as a result he found himself being invited by Ms Lewinsky and her lawyers to write her story - an invitation he could not pass up.

"I got on very well with Monica, very well indeed." Mr Morton told me, "She is very different from the usual image people have of her."

Ms Lewinsky, whom he refers to affectionately as Mon, gave him complete access to her life, including old family snaps.

He prides himself on getting at the person behind the headlines. "I did it with Di, I did it with Moi [his last book was a biography of Daniel arap Moi, president of Kenya], and I've done it with Mon."