cover image Murder in the Rose Garden

Murder in the Rose Garden

Elliott Roosevelt. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03406-1

During the summer of 1936, popular Washington hostess Vivian Taliafero is strangled in the White House Rose Garden, setting up Roosevelt's sixth novel featuring his mother in the leading role. The First Lady helps the Secret Service and the D.C. police gather information about the murdered woman who was, it turns out, an extortionist of huge sums from the high government officials with whom she had dallied; a long list of suspects is gleaned from photographs taken by a hidden camera. Vivian's partner in blackmail, photographer Joe Bob Skaggs, is killed, as is one of their victims, while Mrs. Roosevelt strives to solve the mystery. This is a light diversion, notable, like the earlier works, for evoking real personalities contributing to an eventful year as President Roosevelt is about to run for re-election, King Edward VIII is about the abdicate and Hitler is threatening the world. (Nov.)