MYSTERY

The Murder of Willie Lincoln

Forge. Feb. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9780765385833. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765385840. M
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President Abraham Lincoln's son, Willie, died of typhoid fever in 1862 at age 11. But what if it was murder? That's how political journalist Solomon imagines it in his fiction debut, putting the president's right-hand man, John Hay, front and center as an investigator, plunging in when a message arrives suggesting that the boy's death was not natural. Lincoln, depicted most often as calm and composed, displays a different side as Hay's investigation takes him from the loftiest heights of the Washington elite to the city's grimiest slums. Hay must determine not only the cause of Willie's demise but also whether his death could have dire political ramifications for the president.
VERDICT For fans of historical mysteries with a "what if?" bent, this enjoyable look back in time to another presidency suggests a political landscape just as plagued with controversy as our current one.

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