Picks and Pans Review: Murder in the White House

updated 07/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Margaret Truman

In 1950, while her father was President, Margaret Truman sang a concert in Washington. A Washington Post critic reviewed her performance harshly and an infuriated Harry Truman said that the critic would "... need a new nose...and a supporter below" if they ever met. Unfortunately Margaret is flat again. She has thought up a careful plot and an attractive hero—a young lawyer who is special counsel to the President. But the result is a humdrum novel. The major problem is the characters talk too much, and the talk is tedious. In these days of undeleted expletives, the strongest Truman's characters can muster is "bull." Worse, while the author once lived in the White House, she provides no insider's view. In fact, there are rumors the book was ghost-written; it certainly reads as if the background details came from Woodward and Bernstein. (Arbor House, $9.95)

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