Senators and Their Families as Authors
 

Capitol Offense. Barbara Mikulski and Marylouise Oates. New York: Dutton, 1996.

Although Barbara Mikulski has represented Maryland in the U.S. Senate since 1987, she adopts a newcomer’s viewpoint in her debut novel by creating Eleanor “Norie” Gorzack of Pennsylvania, a former nurse and state public health official who’s just been appointed to a Senate seat. But Norie is also the wife of a Marine who has been missing in action in Vietnam for more than two decades, which puts her in the sights of someone willing to kill to keep a secret concerning the fate of missing soldiers. Senator Mikulski revisits Senator Gorzack in a second novel, Capitol Venture.

Murder in the Senate. William S. Cohen and Thomas B. Allen. New York: Nan A. Talese, 1993.

William Cohen, who served in the Senate for eighteen years and subsequently spent four years as Secretary of Defense, brings an insider’s perspective to this tale of death and legislative maneuvering. Setting their story against a backdrop of an effort to grant statehood to the District of Columbia, the authors combine killings in unlikely places (the Senate subway, the visitor’s gallery of the Senate Chamber) with behind-the-scenes details of the mechanical and architectural workings of the Capitol.

Murder on Capitol Hill. Margaret Truman. New York: Arbor House, 1981.

Before he served as vice president and president, Harry S. Truman represented Missouri in the Senate for ten years. Perhaps that’s why the president’s daughter Margaret focused on the Senate in her second novel (Murder in the White House was the first). In this whodunit, a reception honoring Majority Leader Cale Caldwell ends with the guest of honor dead from an ice pick wound. Asked by the senator’s widow to serve as counsel to a Senate committee investigating the murder, lawyer Lydia James confronts a varied group of suspects including Caldwell family members, media figures, and a fellow senator.

One Woman Lost. Abigail McCarthy and Jane Gray Muskie. New York: Atheneum, 1986.

It seems apt that the spouses of Senators Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota and Edmund Muskie of Maine would write a novel featuring Celia Mann, a Senate wife—although Ms. Mann’s life is presumably much more dramatic than those of her authors. When Senator Mann is elected vice president, his wife’s anti-war activities and unwitting discovery of high-level corruption get her into trouble with the wrong people, leading to such melodrama as Celia being drugged, hospitalized against her will, and isolated from those who might believe her story. Abigail McCarthy has said that Celia Mann was loosely inspired by Martha Mitchell, the wife of former Attorney General John Mitchell.

Sammy's Hill. Kristin Gore. New York: Miramax Books, 2004.

Kristin Gore, the daughter and granddaughter of U.S. senators, combined experience gained as a television comedy writer with her D.C. background to produce a lighthearted tale of romance and public policy. Samantha “Sammy” Joyce is a twenty-six-year-old health-care analyst for an Ohio senator running for vice president. Quirky and idealistic, Sammy wants her boss to be elected and hopes to find true love. But the path to achieving these wishes is not smooth as Sammy wrestles with political complications, romantic entanglements, and her own accident-prone nature. Gore revisits many of these characters in a sequel, Sammy’s House.

A Time to Run. Barbara Boxer with Marie-Rose Hayes. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2005.

At the start of this novel, Senator Ellen Fischer of California, who opposes a Supreme Court nomination, grapples with the propriety of using damaging information about the nominee provided by journalist Greg Hunter. The focus then shifts to 1970s-era Berkeley, where we meet Ellen, Greg, and Ellen’s future husband, Josh, during their university days. Past and present eventually collide in current-day Washington, D.C., with California Senator Barbara Boxer seasoning her plot with knowing references to Senate practices and other bits of local color. Senator Ellen Fischer's adventures continue in Blind Trust, Senator Boxer's 2009 follow-up novel.

The Capitol Hill in Fiction bibliography lists more novels about the Senate, House, and Capitol Hill.