Roosevelt's posthumously published 11th mystery starring his mother Eleanor relies on name recognition and behind-the-scenes tattling to sustain interest in its mediocre plot. In March 1936, White House staffer Paul Duroc dies of cyanide poisoning while having drinks with purchasing agent Therese Rolland, and she is charged with the murder. Believing in the young woman's innocence, the First Lady decides to assist the investigation of Secret Service agent Stan Szezygiel and Washington, D.C., Det. Lt. Edward Kennelly. Meanwhile, FDR is marshaling support for his 1936 reelection, a job made easier since the assassination six months earlier of Louisiana candidate Huey Long. Backroom information and campaign machinations tie Duroc to the Long machine, leading the First Lady, Szezygiel and Kennelly deep into Louisiana power circles to find the killer. Vignettes of politicians and such figures as Albert Einstein, Bela Lugosi and Little Orphan Annie creator Harold Gray flesh out the slender story line. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992 Release date: 11/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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