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Monday, May 25, 2009


Somehow it seems fitting that in this Third Age Traveler since I review Bill O’Reilly’s book, A Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity, I open with Margaret Truman’s 2005 addition to her Capital Crime Series, Murder at the Washington Tribune.

If you’re familiar with Truman’s Washington, DC crime novels, you’ll note that their settings are real, and the characters are familiar types doing the kinds of things Margaret Truman knew. You recognize the political crowd and the police crowd, and you’ll recognize how “inside the beltway” her characters are. You also recognize the settings because Washington is such a vital city, she has no need to fabricate. It’s kind of thrilling to have been to the places or eaten in the restaurants or taken the tours she mentions.

In Murder at the Washington Tribune, however, Margaret Truman spins away. She creates a newspaper that doesn’t exist because she doesn’t want the unsavory characters in the novel to be attached and to stigmatize either the Washington Times or the Washington Post. She adds an author’s note to the novel which lambastes the real Washington Times as a right-wing daily (although she admits they have “some good journalists on their staff.) Guess that counteracts Bold Fresh…. LOL

Truman’s novels are always a good tour around DC. In this one, an aging journalist being elbowed out of the way by the young turks anxious to move ahead quickly, begins to bend his professional journalism creed to sensationalize an investigation. The crime is murder, and as lies sometimes do, his lie snowballs and “things done cannot be undone.” To add to his problems, he is offered an early retirement incentive. That does no good for his sagging ego. Additionally, his daughter is an up and coming TV news reporter, and he finds himself in competition with her. If Truman has not complicated the plot sufficiently, throw in a missing relative, a discreet affair, and a few clues that create boondoggles for those trying to solve the crime.

Margaret Truman’s Capital Crime novels include murders committed on Capital Hill, the Kennedy Center, the FBI, the Supreme Court, Embassy Row, Georgetown, the CIA, the Pentagon, and several other famous DC areas. Her books often got mixed reviews, but they also became best sellers. I enjoy them and have read several. If you enjoy one, you will be back for more. She’s a great one to take on vacation.

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