Condon's Manchurian Candidate develops the frightening character of Eleanor Iselin, the wife of Senator Johny Iselin and mother of the hapless Raymond Shaw. Condon's novel was published in 1959, and many saw it as the proto-screenplay it became. The Frankenheimer film of 1962, and not the novel, has certainly gone on to become the 20th-century artifact.
My myth students know of my attachment to Condon's brilliant application of the Orestes theme with the novel. This post documents another clever mythological allusion that plays functionally in the novel. (Cf. OGCMA0770NOTOrestes_Condon)
Condon introduces Mrs. Iselin with a few quick strokes, then allows the chill to settle in over the novel's fullness. Those who have read to the end know that there is really, absolutely nothing this woman will not do to promote her ambitions. Nothing. Likening her to Clytemnestra, Condon makes for brilliant mythological shorthand.
If you are basing your knowledge of The Manchurian Candidate on Jonathan Demme's film of the same name, you won't have the same view of Eleanor and Raymond. At least the Frankenheimer adaptation will get you closer to Condon.