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Murder at Ford's Theatre (Capital Crimes) Hardcover – November 19, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
Book 19 of 26 in the Capital Crimes Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The spirit of Chandra Levy hovers over Truman's latest Washington, D.C., mystery (Murder on the Potomac, etc.), which, despite a sometimes confusing plot and little suspense until the climax, should be as successful as other recent entries in this durable series. When the body of congressional intern Nadia Zarinski turns up outside the stage door of Ford's Theatre, D.C. police detectives Mo Johnson and Rick Klayman, who happens to be a Lincoln buff, are assigned the case. Nadia worked in the office of Senator Bruce Lerner, ex-husband of Clarise Emerson, head of Ford's Theatre and nominee for chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. Once Clarise determines with Klayman's help that her son, Jeremiah, was the last to see Nadia alive, she appeals to former attorney Mackensie "Mac" Smith to represent him. But there are other suspects as well: theater controller Bernard Crowley; aging, past-his-prime British actor and artistic director Sydney Bancroft; and Senator Lerner himself. Mac and his police cohorts find these ambitious power seekers an unpleasant lot. As usual, the location takes center stage, and the fun lies in seeing how the author uses the national landmark in the service of the drama. In this case, the Lincoln theme pulls the plot threads together and brings weight to the proceedings. The performance may be a bit contrived, but fans will enjoy the show.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-When Washington, DC, police detectives Mo Johnson and Rick Klayman arrive at this famous venue, they find the body of Nadia Zarinski, a congressional intern romantically linked to Senator Bruce Lerner. Fate throws in a twist when the detectives discover that the senator's ex-wife is directing the theater's current production. Their son becomes the number one suspect when the footprint from a pair of shoes he has matches the one found in the alley alongside the deceased. The investigation includes segues into discussions about Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth, and other historical tidbits. Suspects include just about everyone, with the murderer turning out to be someone who is easily overlooked. The best "scene stealing" belongs to Sydney Bancroft, an older, scheming, once-handsome leading man whose better days were long ago but who can't give up the stage. Without the graphic violence or vulgar language sometimes common to this genre, this mystery is lively and interesting.
Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Capital Crimes
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (November 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345444892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345444899
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,337,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In her latest novel, Margaret Truman stages "Murder at Ford's Theatre" with a cast drawn from recent headlines and past novels in her Capital Crime Series. The murder of Senate intern Nadia Zarinski, romantically linked to her boss, outside the historic theatre now run by the senator's ex-wife and Hollywood producer, Clarisse Emerson, who is preparing for her confirmation hearing as the next chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts sets off a media frenzy all too familar in the nation's capital. The case is so sensational that Truman's favorite Washington couple, George Washington University law professor Mackensie Smith and his wife Annabelle, are compelled to play leading roles once again. Supporting cast members and Lincoln buffs, detectives Klayman and Johnson, representing the Metropolitan Police Department, and Sydney Bancroft, aging British thespian and Ford Theatre artistic director, add colorful moments to this fast paced drama.
It is impossible for me to criticise Truman's work. Her attention to detail especially about local landmarks and legends in Washington, DC provides the reader with a sense of place that locals recognize and visitors remember. I don't doubt that Truman strolled the cafes and galleries of Dupont Circle sipping latte at Kramerbooks & Afterwoods researching the details about historic Ford's Theatre that she got correct right down to the spelling.
Above all, "Murder at Ford's Theatre" is first rate suspense. Whether you live inside the infamous beltway or not, add this book to your list right away.
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Format: Hardcover
Nadia Zarinski, intern to Senator Lerner, is found dead in the alley out back of Ford's Theatre in DC. She volunteered time at the Theatre now and then. She was found by Johnny Wales, a stage hand at the theatre. The only eyewitness to her murder is John Partridge. He is an alcoholic and thinks he is a CIA agent. He was sleeping it off in the alley.
Detectives Rick Klayman and Mo Johnson are investigating this death. There are rumors that Nadia and Senator Lerner were involved. The Senator's ex-wife, Clarise, is the head of Ford's Theatre and was unaware that Nadia was volunteering time at the theatre. Clarise is also to be confirmed as the head of the National Endowment of Arts within the week.
The Senator and Clarise's son Jeremiah becomes a suspect in the murder when a previous boyfriend of hers mentions that Jeremiah dated Nadia. That information is confirmed by another source.
Mac Smith is now a professor of law. He is teaching a special class on Lincoln the lawyer. He was a criminal lawyer until a drunk driver hit and killed his first wife and only son. He is remarried to Annabel who was a divorce lawyer and now owns and operates a Columbia art gallery. Mac is asked by Clarise to assist Jeremiah when he is arrested. Mac and his former law partner Yale Becker represent Jeremiah.
Detective Klayman wonders if they haven't been hasty in arresting Jeremiah. He's not convinced that all the other suspects were sufficiently interrogated.
Mac and Annabel are surprised by the Senator's and Clarise's detachment from Jeremiah through this ordeal.
Detective Klayman is very interested in President Lincoln and attends Mac's class. They are careful to not discuss this case, just Lincoln.
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Format: Hardcover
After a seventeen-novel run, you might think that Margaret Truman must have pretty well exhausted the possibilities for murder and mayhem on the Washington scene, but with "Murder at Ford's Theatre", she has found yet another fascinating new venue to explore in her popular 'Capital Crimes' series. Her real life premise? Restored to its original Civil War Era splendor and maintained by the National Park Service as an historic site, today Ford's is also a state-of-the-art, working theater run by the non-governmental Ford's Theatre Society. Fictional charismatic Clarise Emerson: former Hollywood TV producer, ex-wife of playboy Senator Bruce Lerner and presently a nominee for the Chairmanship of NEA is currently its producing director, but...aided by her new comptroller, Bernard Crowly...her primary concern is fund-raising and public relations, so she delegates the actual production mounting tasks to her staff of trained professionals including former Shakespearean matinee idol, Sydney Bancroft. When Sydney is a no-show at an early morning tech staff meeting, real life drama abruptly intrudes into Ford's make-believe world as a stagehand going out for a smoke stumbles over the badly beaten dead body of alluring volunteer intern, Nadia Zarinski. Seasoned police officers Rick Klayman and Mo Johnson 'catch' the case. As they pursue their investigation, among other confusing pieces of conflicting evidence, they uncover a romantic relationship between Nadia and Senator Lerner as well as one with his and Clarise's son, Jeremiah. After Jeremiah is arrested and charged with her murder, Clarise asks Lincoln scholar, legal expert and law professor Mac Smith and his wife Annabel...her close friends...to come to his rescue.Read more ›
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