When the second sentence of this thriller referred to “the hotel at E and K Streets, on the eastern edge of Foggy Bottom,” I cringed. How could this veteran author—daughter of President Harry Truman—screw up something so basic as DC’s street grid?
Despite clinkers like that one and sometimes-stiff dialogue, Murder in Foggy Bottom is an absorbing read. Its characters are drawn from the capital’s infrastructure: a tarnished Post reporter, a neatnik State Department analyst, a Canadian diplomat, a few CIA operatives, even a cocktail pianist whose profile in The Washingtonian plays a small but important role.
The murder in Foggy Bottom turns out to have a small role itself. Truman whisks us from Rosslyn to Moscow to a right-wing militia outpost on the trail of terrorists, arms dealers, and secrets—secrets that may or may not be reliable enough to stake lives on. Of course, a few romances, foreign and domestic, add complications.
The pace quickens in the last quarter, and Truman’s final twists are satisfying. Though I’m still trying to figure why a limo heading from State to Andrews Air Force Base would take the Beltway.