Recommended Reads: Clever D.C. murder mystery written by a President’s daughter


murder in the smithsonianMurder in the Smithsonian, by Margaret Truman

The Smithsonian museums are filled with fascinating artifacts, so many displayed and so many hidden in private storage. On a visit you might encounter moon rocks, the Hope Diamond, a fossilized skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, ancient mummies, or in this mystery novel you might see a featured artifact that’s used to commit murder. With all the people who visit the museum, or who attend glittering Smithsonian events, the opportunity for intrigue tugs at the imagination. And why murder? Was it a robbery attempt of a priceless antiquity gone wrong? Or was the victim a target for some sinister reason? Who better to author this D.C. mystery, than a talented U.S. President’s daughter?

The police detective called to the scene is under intense pressure to solve this case quickly. He’s being second guessed by members of the Smithsonian Institution, prominent political figures, the media and a very distraught victim’s fiancé. He’s not one to be rushed though. According to the Smithsonian Institute, their goal is to better predict the future by examining the past. Just as the museum scientists and librarians scrupulously preserve, catalogue, and organize exhibit artifacts, our detective does the same in gathering his clues, examining this murder to predict how he’ll catch a killer.

This author cleverly weaves in interesting history and little known facts about the Smithsonian. Tracking the past of the murder weapon, we’re led to London, and then follow the trail to Scotland and an ancient Scottish castle. By the time we’re back in D.C., the clues are adding up.

First daughter Margaret Truman was 10 years old when her father was elected Senator and served for seven years. The family split their time between D.C. and Missouri. She was a college student, majoring in history, when her father was sworn in as Vice President. Less than three months later, he was President.

A very talented writer, Margaret’s first book was a memoir of her Missouri childhood and her years at the White House. The New York Herald Tribune’s book review section called it “a gracefully written tale of an average American girl drawn by chance into the White House.” She went on to write biographies, and a dozen murder mysteries that came to be known as the Capital Crimes Series. These murders are scattered all over D.C. in many distinguished places including the White House.

Margaret Truman said, “I love books. I really, really love them. There’s something special about bringing people and books together.”

Thereby hangs a tale . . . .

Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall

— By Wendy Kendall

Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.



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