cover image Murder in the Red Room: An Eleanor Roosevelt Mystery

Murder in the Red Room: An Eleanor Roosevelt Mystery

Elliott Roosevelt / Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (249p) IS

The author's mother Eleanor here solves her 10th mystery, which contains all the elements that have made the series ( Murder and the First Lady , etc.) so popular. On the eve of announcing his ill-conceived ``court-packing'' scheme, FDR, with a macabre sense of humor, holds a formal White House dinner for the federal judiciary. While he talks to Benjamin Cardozo and Eleanor engages in badinage with Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, a Cleveland mobster named ``Shondor Jack'' has his throat cut in the Red Room. How did the victim get in? What he was doing there? Who in the presidential mansion would want him dead? These are just some of the intriguing questions posed by this witty, entertaining and urbane tale. As the president battles Congress and the press over his court reform plan, Eleanor sorts through an unlikely ragbag of suspects, including a senator, a congressman, lawyers and prostitutes. Somehow she still finds time to fulfill her official duties, lunch with movie stars, dine with the NAACP and attend a reception for Amelia Earhartsp ok . The solution to the mystery is a trifle predictable, but sophisticated dialogue and plenty of affectionate insights about the author's parents and their era make this a delightful romp through the seamy side of officialdom. (July)