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Murder at the Library of Congress

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In the depths of the U.S. Library of Congress toil thousands of researchers, chasing down obsessions, breakthroughs, and new contributions to human wisdom. But when amateur D.C. sleuth Annabel Reed-Smith enters this stately American institution, she discovers a hornet's nest of intrigue and murder. After a renowned scholar is bludgeoned to death among the scholarly stacks, In the depths of the U.S. Library of Congress toil thousands of researchers, chasing down obsessions, breakthroughs, and new contributions to human wisdom. But when amateur D.C. sleuth Annabel Reed-Smith enters this stately American institution, she discovers a hornet's nest of intrigue and murder. After a renowned scholar is bludgeoned to death among the scholarly stacks, an ambitious TV reporter links the case to the heist of a Spanish painting from a Miami museum and a killing in Mexico City. Annabel suspects that buried in the Library are secrets some people will do anything to keep silent-the secret of a rich man's ambition, a researcher's disappearance, and a mysterious diary of Christopher Columbus's journey written five hundred years ago. . . .


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In the depths of the U.S. Library of Congress toil thousands of researchers, chasing down obsessions, breakthroughs, and new contributions to human wisdom. But when amateur D.C. sleuth Annabel Reed-Smith enters this stately American institution, she discovers a hornet's nest of intrigue and murder. After a renowned scholar is bludgeoned to death among the scholarly stacks, In the depths of the U.S. Library of Congress toil thousands of researchers, chasing down obsessions, breakthroughs, and new contributions to human wisdom. But when amateur D.C. sleuth Annabel Reed-Smith enters this stately American institution, she discovers a hornet's nest of intrigue and murder. After a renowned scholar is bludgeoned to death among the scholarly stacks, an ambitious TV reporter links the case to the heist of a Spanish painting from a Miami museum and a killing in Mexico City. Annabel suspects that buried in the Library are secrets some people will do anything to keep silent-the secret of a rich man's ambition, a researcher's disappearance, and a mysterious diary of Christopher Columbus's journey written five hundred years ago. . . .

30 review for Murder at the Library of Congress

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Art gallery owner Annabel Reed-Smith is assigned the task of writing an article on some missing diaries from an associate of Christopher Columbus. While doing some research in the Library of Congress, an expert in the field is murdered. Despite her intentions not to get involved, she ends up helping to crack the case. There is some interesting "insider" info on the workings of the library of congress, and also some interesting history about Columbus. However, I found Annabel to be annoyingly per Art gallery owner Annabel Reed-Smith is assigned the task of writing an article on some missing diaries from an associate of Christopher Columbus. While doing some research in the Library of Congress, an expert in the field is murdered. Despite her intentions not to get involved, she ends up helping to crack the case. There is some interesting "insider" info on the workings of the library of congress, and also some interesting history about Columbus. However, I found Annabel to be annoyingly perfect (wealthy, goodlooking, well-connected art gallery owner and former high powered attorney) which kept me from enjoying the book more. Also, they kept referring to the head of the library as the "Librarian," which reminded me of the Seinfeld episode about "The Maestro."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne Lemieux

    Enjoyed the setting and descriptions of the LOC. Going for a class this summer so will be looking for things from the book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    My f2f book club choice for July. Wouldn't have read it otherwise. Truman writes a simple but interesting mystery. I especially liked the descriptions of the Library of Congress, though the stats would be a little old. I read some of Truman's mysteries a few years ago, but doubt that I'll read any more. Still good light reading with no cursing or objectionable material. Would be fine for younger readers. My f2f book club choice for July. Wouldn't have read it otherwise. Truman writes a simple but interesting mystery. I especially liked the descriptions of the Library of Congress, though the stats would be a little old. I read some of Truman's mysteries a few years ago, but doubt that I'll read any more. Still good light reading with no cursing or objectionable material. Would be fine for younger readers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Definitely fun due to the Washington DC location and history. Great as an audiobook.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael O'Leary

    Murder at the Library of Congress by Margaret Truman is #16 in her Capital Crime series. I have read a couple of other mysteries by Margaret Truman however, this one was really very fascinating because it centered on one of the nation's greatest assets...the Library of Congress, our national library. The story details many of the inter-workings of the library as well as presenting many of the overwhelming collections and the huge catalog job required of the library and its librarians. The myster Murder at the Library of Congress by Margaret Truman is #16 in her Capital Crime series. I have read a couple of other mysteries by Margaret Truman however, this one was really very fascinating because it centered on one of the nation's greatest assets...the Library of Congress, our national library. The story details many of the inter-workings of the library as well as presenting many of the overwhelming collections and the huge catalog job required of the library and its librarians. The mystery is well thought out and very clever; it is a quick read but very delightful. From the publisher: In the depths of the U.S. Library of Congress toil thousands of researchers, chasing down obsessions, breakthroughs, and new contributions to human wisdom. But when amateur D.C. sleuth Annabel Reed-Smith enters this stately American institution, she discovers a hornet's nest of intrigue and murder. After a renowned scholar is bludgeoned to death among the scholarly stacks, an ambitious TV reporter links the case to the heist of a Spanish painting from a Miami museum and a killing in Mexico City. Annabel suspects that buried in the Library are secrets some people will do anything to keep silent-the secret of a rich man's ambition, a researcher's disappearance, and a mysterious diary of Christopher Columbus's journey written five hundred years ago. . . .

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Sollars

    2.5 Not my usual book. This book is only 269 pages and it took me five days to finish. Murder at the Library of Congress didn’t hold my attention for long periods of time. The first 100 pages were interesting but after that it was a struggle. I have two more Truman books that I was given. I will try those to see if I might like these types of books.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    A great breezy mystery from a DC insider. I learned a lot about the LC and enjoyed the characters.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Murder at the Library of Congress is the sixteenth novel in Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes series--but the first one I've read. I grabbed it up at the Friends of the Library Bookstore primarily because it was set at the Library of Congress. Mysteries set in libraries represent another sub-genre that I like to read. This one has Annabel Reed-Smith, former lawyer and current art gallery owner, doing research at the Library of Congress for an article about Christopher Columbus. Specifically, she Murder at the Library of Congress is the sixteenth novel in Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes series--but the first one I've read. I grabbed it up at the Friends of the Library Bookstore primarily because it was set at the Library of Congress. Mysteries set in libraries represent another sub-genre that I like to read. This one has Annabel Reed-Smith, former lawyer and current art gallery owner, doing research at the Library of Congress for an article about Christopher Columbus. Specifically, she is trying to determine if rumors of a diary written by Bartolome de Las Casas, one of Columbus's companions, are based in fact or if it is all just a pipe dream. Also at the library is Michele Paul--the world's leading scholar on all things Las Casas. He has been doing research on the supposedly lost diary for years. Annabel wants to consult him, but the man is insufferably rude and unhelpful. He also has a knack for making nearly everyone he meets hate him. So, it's not much of a surprise when he winds up dead--whacked with the proverbial blunt instrument. Is his death related to the diary? And what does a missing painting by a second-rate artist have to do with it--if anything? Annabel and an ambitious television newswoman dig up clues and answers...and it all comes down to some very interesting files on computer disks discovered in one of the Library's forgotten collections. This is a fairly decent mystery. I liked Annabel and her husband, as well as most of the other main characters. I saw the solution coming a long way ahead....although not the complete details. But I can't say that this book is so outstanding that I'll be tracking down the others in the series. If they come along, then I'll read them, but I'm in no hurry. Three stars for a decent outing. This review was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JodiP

    I was really looking forward to getting into this series. I'd read about it on Jungle Red--the author is Margaret Truman, daughter of President and Bess Truman, so I expected well-crafted savvy writing about DC. What a clunker this was! She used very outmoded language, especially for the thugs--they actually referrd to women as dames and broads. They were so cartoonish. The two heroes are so perfect: the woman owns a gallery of pre-Columbian art in George town, which of course is doing so well s I was really looking forward to getting into this series. I'd read about it on Jungle Red--the author is Margaret Truman, daughter of President and Bess Truman, so I expected well-crafted savvy writing about DC. What a clunker this was! She used very outmoded language, especially for the thugs--they actually referrd to women as dames and broads. They were so cartoonish. The two heroes are so perfect: the woman owns a gallery of pre-Columbian art in George town, which of course is doing so well she can leave it to her assistants to run while she spends a couple months researching an article about the Las Casas Diaries at the LC. The husband is a GU law professor, and their marriage is perfect. They're gorgeous, and the other male characters routinely make comments about the woman behind her back. Too bad, because the mystery is intriguing: Las Casas was apparently a friend of Columus' and may have writtendiaries about the first three trips to the New World. There may also be a map showing where lots of gold is buried! Fun stuff. The LC wants the map and diaries for the prestige, and there is likely some really shady dealing involved in getting it. The final straw for me: the director of the LC is talking with a wealthy man who wants to help acquire the docs, and is acting as go-between. He makes some cheesy reference to doing it for his country. The direcotr thinks :I wonder what Ayn Rand would have to say about that. No one does anything without significant self-interest." Clunky and contrived. It made me wonder if MT was a Rand enthusiast, but the only thing I found is she made antoher AR reference in another book. I was reading City of Women at the same time, and comparing the writing was like comparing a Hershey's Kiss to chocolates from the St. Croix chocolate company. I gave up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is one of the books in the Capital Crimes series by the daughter of Harry Truman. I've always meant to read something by her, so finally got around to it. The book featured likable characters and a fun setting at the Library of Congress. I don't think the mystery was as good as many others I've read, but it was still entertaining. A painting is stolen at a small museum in Miami. Then a scholar at the Library of Congress is murdered. Both incidents relate to the quest to find the missing dia This is one of the books in the Capital Crimes series by the daughter of Harry Truman. I've always meant to read something by her, so finally got around to it. The book featured likable characters and a fun setting at the Library of Congress. I don't think the mystery was as good as many others I've read, but it was still entertaining. A painting is stolen at a small museum in Miami. Then a scholar at the Library of Congress is murdered. Both incidents relate to the quest to find the missing diaries of a companion of Christopher Columbus who accompanied him on his expeditions to the New World. Former lawyer and pre-Columbian art expert Annabel Reed-Smith gets involved in solving the mystery while doing research at the LC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This was my first Margaret Truman mystery. It was just OK, although I will admit that since it was such an easy read (and I have 3 more of her books on my shelves - thank you Mommy McD?) I will probably read her again. I just felt like there wasn't enough depth of character and story. It felt very skimmed over and I felt there was a ton of material that could have made this a really great historical ficton mystery. It was fairly obvious who had done it, but the link was weak. I am probably being o This was my first Margaret Truman mystery. It was just OK, although I will admit that since it was such an easy read (and I have 3 more of her books on my shelves - thank you Mommy McD?) I will probably read her again. I just felt like there wasn't enough depth of character and story. It felt very skimmed over and I felt there was a ton of material that could have made this a really great historical ficton mystery. It was fairly obvious who had done it, but the link was weak. I am probably being overly critical as I read this book in two days and wasn't completely disappointed by it, but as a mystery junkie, it just wasn't great!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lollyletsgo

    If you are privy to the inner workings of special collections within libraries, this book will ring very true for you. She also illumintes on the ways that museums and libraries acquire rare pieces, which is in this case is dubious. Ms. Truman really knows her stuff about the political systems and how the quid pro quo system travels from the Hill rolling down to all aspects of the government. I found those aspects of the novel quite fun to read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    grundoon

    2.5 If she could confine herself to Washington, she can write a pleasant enough mystery. This one even had most of the right elements in good balance. But a wholly unnecessary detour to remind us how corrupt and unscrupulous the Mexican people are, an equally unneeded and weak final action scene and one final unsolicited political opinion demanded deductions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    M

    I had no idea this book was part of a series until there were mentions of past exploits of the characters. This can be read as a stand alone, however. I just didn't care that much about the people in this book, nor did I care about the politics of the LOC. I'm pretty easy to please with books, so....meh. I had no idea this book was part of a series until there were mentions of past exploits of the characters. This can be read as a stand alone, however. I just didn't care that much about the people in this book, nor did I care about the politics of the LOC. I'm pretty easy to please with books, so....meh.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

    A little dull and a lot cliche. This was written in the 90's, but the style of speech is not believable at all. The mention of knees were made so often that it might make a good drinking game. Overall, the story seemed very shallow and it felt as if Ms. Truman was simply phoning it in to continue the series. A little dull and a lot cliche. This was written in the 90's, but the style of speech is not believable at all. The mention of knees were made so often that it might make a good drinking game. Overall, the story seemed very shallow and it felt as if Ms. Truman was simply phoning it in to continue the series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This book was a little disappointing. For some reason the plot nor the characters held a lot of appeal for me. I have found her other books more 'page turners'. This book was a little disappointing. For some reason the plot nor the characters held a lot of appeal for me. I have found her other books more 'page turners'.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelley Mason

    Very simply written. I'm not sure why Mac needed to be mentioned in this book. This was my first Margaret Truman book. I will try another in hope that they will become more noteworthy. Very simply written. I'm not sure why Mac needed to be mentioned in this book. This was my first Margaret Truman book. I will try another in hope that they will become more noteworthy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    This was a breezy mystery read that was fine, but didn't work in a few places. I read it ahead of starting a job at the Library of Congress, and while obviously fictional, the book was fun as I learned a bit about how the place operates. As to the murder, it was quite obvious by the end, especially since there's a chapter a few after the murder is discovered where a character acts extremely suspicious. It was so obvious I thought it must be a red-herring, but no it was just a very obvious hint t This was a breezy mystery read that was fine, but didn't work in a few places. I read it ahead of starting a job at the Library of Congress, and while obviously fictional, the book was fun as I learned a bit about how the place operates. As to the murder, it was quite obvious by the end, especially since there's a chapter a few after the murder is discovered where a character acts extremely suspicious. It was so obvious I thought it must be a red-herring, but no it was just a very obvious hint to the murderer. My other critique of the book, which was written over 20 years ago, is that the prose Margaret Truman (or her ghostwriter) uses is a bit outdated. All the women are described by how beautiful or not they are, and as many are attractive, the male characters often call attention to their looks. There also were some weird quirks that reflect little understanding of actual DC. For example, there's reference to "Maryland U" instead of University of Maryland, and there are several references that propagate cliches about the city only being obsessed with politics. But considering Truman was the daughter of Harry, it makes sense that this is the worldview present. Final verdict: Fun if you want a light mystery set in the Library of Congress, but otherwise probably fine skipping it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    LeAnne

    One of the best ones from Margaret Truman. Book number 16 so it's well into the background of Mac and Annabel. Interesting to learn about behind the scenes of the authenticating process although the storyline was a little uninteresting as far as what was driving the mystery. There were several potential protagonists and I was guessing until the last chapter when it became clear. I enjoy reading her mysteries, all set in Washington D.C. One of the best ones from Margaret Truman. Book number 16 so it's well into the background of Mac and Annabel. Interesting to learn about behind the scenes of the authenticating process although the storyline was a little uninteresting as far as what was driving the mystery. There were several potential protagonists and I was guessing until the last chapter when it became clear. I enjoy reading her mysteries, all set in Washington D.C.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ida

    As the search is on for fabled diaries and maps kept by a companion of Christopher Columbus, researchers disappear or die along the way. Gallery owner & former criminal attorney, Annabel Reed-Smith has been commissioned to do research at the Library of Congress and write an article about the possibility that the diaries and maps exist, so she is drawn into the intrigue. Well-plotted enough to keep me reading to the end, but the writing was uneven. Enjoyable enough.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Argum

    Mac and Annabel are at it again but mostly Annabel. She has been asked to write a magazine piece on Columbus fro the Library of Congress. But she quickly learns that all is not as serene as you expect. The very obnoxious expert is secretive and a giant pain in the butt, but two days in Annabel finds him dead. A journalist is on the scene because of a theft of a Columbus related painting in Miami. Big plots and the dirty side of art is explored

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom H

    It was a fun, enjoyable and easy read. I was not astonished with who do the killer was in the story but was thrown for some curves. To me some of the action was predictable and I guessed what might happen before it did. One of the things I was not a fan of was how the author described people some times, fitting their physical description and life story in a few sentences. For me it was too much information too quickly some times (usually with secondary characters).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenny L Womack

    Closer to a 3.5 , but round up not down. Picked this up because it's set in one my favorite buildings, the Library of Congress. Written in the late 90's, it is a tiny bit dated from a technology standpoint. I felt some of the subplots were unnecessary, but the main mystery (the murder) is good. Closer to a 3.5 , but round up not down. Picked this up because it's set in one my favorite buildings, the Library of Congress. Written in the late 90's, it is a tiny bit dated from a technology standpoint. I felt some of the subplots were unnecessary, but the main mystery (the murder) is good.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Auckerman

    I read one of these a long time ago and enjoyed it. I planned to read more of them. But I forgot them. I found two of them on CDs at the North River Library and knew I have some road trips coming up. I finished this one last night. I learned a lot about the Library of Congress as well as enjoying the mystery, even though I figured it out quickly.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Soc Page

    one of the few "area" writers who actually has a good idea of where things are and what is associated with them. For example, she mentioned that the Watergate Bakery is actually in the complex close to the hotel. Love Clive Cussler, but unless you are driving a supersonic car, there is no way that Dirk Pitt can get from Langley to downtown DC in 15 minutes... one of the few "area" writers who actually has a good idea of where things are and what is associated with them. For example, she mentioned that the Watergate Bakery is actually in the complex close to the hotel. Love Clive Cussler, but unless you are driving a supersonic car, there is no way that Dirk Pitt can get from Langley to downtown DC in 15 minutes...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie

    I am usually someone who reads books relatively quickly, but this book took me an unfortunate six months to struggle through. It's not that it's poorly written from a grammatical perspective, the story was simply too boring for me to get fully invested in. There seems to be too many characteristics with too little personality between them all. Overall, I was disappointed. I am usually someone who reads books relatively quickly, but this book took me an unfortunate six months to struggle through. It's not that it's poorly written from a grammatical perspective, the story was simply too boring for me to get fully invested in. There seems to be too many characteristics with too little personality between them all. Overall, I was disappointed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jean Walton

    An average political tale in my opinion. It was very slow going at first. I think the author took longer than necessary in setting the background to the tale. It did get better though I found the ending rather unlikely but I won't say anything about it so as not to spoil it for other readers. An average political tale in my opinion. It was very slow going at first. I think the author took longer than necessary in setting the background to the tale. It did get better though I found the ending rather unlikely but I won't say anything about it so as not to spoil it for other readers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karyn Ann

    This series has been around for a while, but I have never read before. Literary mystery with interesting characters. I especially enjoyed the setting as DC and the buildings of our democracy are favorite sites for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I don't think this is the series for me. The characters were bland. The dialogue was uninspiring. The plot was unbelievable. I had a hard time buying in to the main character being invited to the Library of Congress to write an article in a "prestigious" magazine and being given such access. I don't think this is the series for me. The characters were bland. The dialogue was uninspiring. The plot was unbelievable. I had a hard time buying in to the main character being invited to the Library of Congress to write an article in a "prestigious" magazine and being given such access.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Ramsay

    Follow Annabel Reed-Smith as she searches for clues to some missing notes and maps from Columbus's journeys, which have been searched for over the past few centuries. Unfortunately, this search uncovers clues from a recent murder and one from the past. Follow Annabel Reed-Smith as she searches for clues to some missing notes and maps from Columbus's journeys, which have been searched for over the past few centuries. Unfortunately, this search uncovers clues from a recent murder and one from the past.

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