Monday, March 21, 2016

She knew the "ins and outs" !



When I taught in Ft. Worth lo the many years ago, I discovered Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes Series and devoured every one I could find in the local branch library. Now I’m on my way through the books for the second time! It’s just been long enough to forget “who-dun-it” and turn the pages eagerly to find the next piece of the puzzle.

Margaret Truman, of course, was the only child of President Harry Truman and his wife Bess. Born in 1924 in Independence, MO , she was only 21 when her father became President after the death of FDR. She earned a degree in history and after a brief singing/acting career, she married Clifton Daniel who would later become editor of the New York Times. They had four sons. Before her death in 2008 at the age of 83, she had written nine non-fiction books (including biographies of her parents) and over twenty-five novels.



Because she had lived so long in the nation’s capital, she was familiar with the city and set her Capital Crimes Series there. Her first book, Murder in the White House, was followed by
Murder on Capitol Hill
Murder in the Supreme Court
Murder in the Smithsonian
Murder on Embassy Row
Murder at the FBI
Murder in Georgetown
Murder in the CIA
Murder at the Kennedy Center
Murder at the National Cathedral
Murder at the Pentagon
Murder on the Potomac
Murder at the National Gallery
Murder in the House
Murder at the Watergate
Murder at the Library of Congress
Murder in Foggy Bottom
Murder in Havana
Murder at Ford’s Theatre
Murder at Union Station
Murder at the Washington Tribune
Murder at the Opera
Murder on K Street
Murder Inside the Beltway
Monument to Murder
Experiment in Murder
Undiplomatic Murder
Internship in Murder

A few recurring characters populate many of the books: MacKenzie and Anabel Smith. He’s an attorney who now teaches law, and she left the practice of law to pursue her interest in pre-Columbian art. I find their interaction with each other and events in which they become involved quite fascinating. I especially enjoy “seeing” Washington, D.C. both geographically and “behind the scenes” through her eyes. Though the books are definitely fiction, it’s obvious she’s writing what she knows about.

The last four books, published after her death, also have the name of another author who worked with her. I read one of them but for whatever reason didn’t find the style as captivating. However, I’d recommend all the other “Murder” books. They’re available in print and for Kindle at Amazon.

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