Monday, January 19, 2009

The U.S. President and Detective Fiction: Hail to the Chief

A new day is dawning, and I thought it would be a great time to put together a list of mysteries that feature U.S. Presidents and presidential candidates. This list is far from complete, so I welcome any additions.

Assassination Attempts:
Pursuit by James Stewart Thayer
Watchdogs by John Weisman
American Quartet by Warren Adler
Primary Target by Marilyn Wallace
Primary Target by Max Allan Collins
The Kidnapping of the President by Charles Templeton
Campaign Train (Murder Rides the Campaign Train) by The Gordons

The Kidnapping of the President by Charles Templeton
Line of Succession by Brian Garfield
Oath of Office by Steven J. Kirsch
We are Holding the President Hostage by Warren Adler

Presidential Disappearances:

The President Vanishes by Rex Stout
Missing! by Michael Avallone
The President's Plan is Missing by Robert J. Serling

Fixing the Election:
President Fu Manch by Sax Rohmer
The Big Fix by Roger L. Simon
The Ceiling of Hell by Warren Murphy
Atropos by William DeAndrea
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
The 13th Directorate by Barry Chubin
The Red President by Martin Gross
The Trojan Hearse by Richard S. Prather

Presidential Crisis:
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
Vanished by Fletcher Knebel

The President as Detective:
Bully by Mark Schorr

The JFK Plot:
Too many to list, but...
Executive Action by Mark Lane, Donald Freed and Stephen Jaffe
The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
Mongoose, RIP by William F. Buckley

Presidential Families:
Murder and the First Lady (and other novels) By Elliot Roosevelt (featuring Eleanor Roosevelt)
Murder in the White House (and other novels) by Margaret Truman (fictional White House daughter)
They've Shot the President's Daughter by Edward Stewart
Deadly Aims by Ron L. Gerard

An Anthology:
Mr President, Private Eye, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. Different historical presidents in the role of sleuth

Thanks to Jim Doherty who wrote a great article on Presidential mysteries in the Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 6:3-1990) O.P.


Anonymous said...

Neither of them strictly "detective", but I enjoyed The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon and the book by Stephen King about the man in the coma who wakes up years later to find his girlfried married to someone else...and he uncovers a conspiracy....
I think at least one of Richard North Patterson's books was about a presidential assassination attempt.

Corey Wilde said...

To the kidnapping categoy add David Baldacci's 'The Camel Club.'

Jonathan E. Quist said...

Don't forget Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series, serving up Chef Olivia Paras in State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef. Both are seasoned with a pinch of humor and more than a large dollop of suspense.

Scott D. Parker said...

My first novel, Treason at Hanford, stars Senator Harry Truman. It takes place in the spring of 1944, a few months before he was selected to be VP. The story ends with him being president. The first portion of the book is posted on my blog.

Helen Tilley said...

Greenberg Martin H. ed Mr President, Private Eye

Janet Rudolph said...

Karen Bevers sent this update for the list:

Hi Janet,
I used the following list for a reading group in November .. on political elections. You would need to delet #7 which is about a San Francisco mayoral election. I’m not sure if any of the rest miss being presidential, but most of them should be good for your list. I don’t know how to add to your blog, so I hope you won’t mind my sending it this way
Karen Bevers
1.Alexander, Lawrence – RUBICON

2.Baldacci, David Saving Faith   
3.  Barnard, Robert Political Suicide and Touched by the Dead
4. Bernhardt, William – CAPITOL CONSPIRACY
5. Bowen, Michael Richard Michaelson- Retired Foreign Service Officer-Washington DC
6.Cannell, Stephen J. – THREE SHIRT DEAL
7.Coggins, Mark - RUNOFF
8. Compton,David Impaired Judgement
9. Condon,Richard Manchurian Candidate
10. Flynn, Vince Term Limits (1st)
11.Folman, Bill THE SCANDAL PLAN
12.Frey, Stephen W. THE POWER BROKER
13.Gibson, William SPOOK COUNTRY
14. Gorman,Edmund FAST TRACK and SLEEPING DOGS
16.Greenfield, Jeff THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
17. Grisham. John The Pelican Brief
18. Higgins, Jack The President's Daughter and The White House Connection
20.Lustbader, Eric FIRST DAUGHTER
21.Margolin, Phillip EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE (2008)
22. Patterson, Richard North THE RACE and PROTECT AND DEFEND and BALANCE OF POWER
23. Phillips, Gary, editor – POLITICS NOIR
25.Reed, Ralph DARK HORSE
26.Rosenberg, Joel C. DEAD HEAT and THE LAST JIHAD
27.Sandford, John DEAD WATCH
29.Woods, Stuart – CAPITAL CRIMES

Assassination attempts
Gores, Joe – GLASS TIGER

Gwyn Ramsey said...

Very interesting.

Gwyn Ramsey

Anonymous said...

The Dead Zone by Stephen King is the book I was trying to think of.


A recent one is CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (Five Star, 2014) by Mike Black, in which a DC Metro Homicide Detective (and former US Army Ranger), investigates a murder that ties into a plot by a deranged military officer to get his brother-in-law into the Oval Office.

It'll be listed in an article I'm doing for your upcoming "Big City Cops" issue.