From senators to summer interns, from all the president's men to all-powerful women, Margaret Truman captures the fascinating, high-wire drama of Washington, D.C., like no other writer. Now this master of mystery fiction takes us into the capital's chaotic fourth estate. At the big, aggressive newspaper The Washington Tribune, a young woman has been murdered. And the hunt for her killer is making sensational and lethal headlines.
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October 25, 2005
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Excerpt from Murder at The Washington Tribune by Margaret Truman
Another speaker came to the podium. Joe Wilcox leaned close to his wife and muttered just loud enough for her pretty ears only, "Another speaker." He shifted position in his chair and twisted his neck against a growing stiffness and full-blown boredom. With them at a front table were three couples, others from The Washington Tribune and their spouses who'd agreed to attend the awards evening with the Wilcoxes out of friendship, or obligation, or maybe a little of both.
The dinner was an annual event for the Washington Media Association, whose members came from the ranks of Washington, D.C.'s, print and broadcast journalists. Like most such groups, its leadership was fond of bestowing awards on deserving members and on their chosen profession, giving that same leadership a reason for taking to the podium to express their views on many things, mostly political. An occasional, usually accidental, bit of humor provided blessed audience relief from those who spoke endlessly, others longer.
At least they're getting to the awards, Wilcox thought as the speaker said "In conclusion" for the third time. Wilcox looked to a table at which his daughter, Roberta, sat. She was the reason Joe and Georgia were there.
The speaker at the podium finally did conclude, and the bestowing of awards commenced, twenty-two in all. Three weeks later-or so it seemed-Roberta was the sixteenth recipient called to the podium to accept the award for Best Local Investigative Reporting-Broadcast, accompanied by the producer and the director of a TV series they'd done on corruption within the Washington MPD.
"Doesn't she look beautiful?" Georgia said.
"Of course she does," Wilcox replied. "Because she is."
Roberta Wilcox did look stunning that evening in a stylish pantsuit the color of ripe peaches. But it was radiance from within that created a virtual aura around her, enhanced by a bright smile that had lit up the nightly news since she'd joined the station three years earlier. "The best-looking newscaster in D.C." was the consensus. She usually wore her auburn hair pulled back when on the air, but this evening she'd let it down, framing an oval face with inquisitive raisin-brown eyes, her skin fair but not pale, her makeup tastefully underapplied. She thanked the station for having given her the freedom and support to pursue the exposE, read helpful names from a slip of paper including the producer and director, and ended by crediting her parents for having instilled in her the natural curiosity necessary to get the job done. "Of course," she added, "I come from good reportorial stock. My father is as good a reporter as there is in this city." She watched him wince, tossed him a kiss off her fingertips, and led her fellow award winners back to their table.