I get a kick out of it when an author uses a familiar setting in his or her book, especially if that setting happens to be in the DC metro area. (“Hey! I’ve been there!”) David Baldacci, who lives in the DC area like I do, often refers to local places I’ve visited. So do mystery author Barbara Michaels and romance writer Nora Roberts, since they’re both Marylanders.
But the person who does it the best was Margaret Truman (yep, Harry’s daughter). I love to curl up with one of her murder mysteries, set at various DC locations such as the White House (they turned this one into a movie called “Murder at 1600” with Wesley Snipes and Diane Lane), Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, National Cathedral, the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building and the Kennedy Center.
Her murder mysteries do a great job at capturing the contrasts of DC — it’s sometimes elegant, sometimes desperately poor. And I like her characters such as Mackensie and Annabel Smith — they’re good for each other…close but not cloying, independent when they need to be, and smart.
I still have yet to make it to some of Truman’s locations. Call me crazy, but I don’t think they’d just let me stroll into the Pentagon or the CIA’s main buildings. I wouldn’t mind doing the Hoover building tour or the Library of Congress.
The trick is to have enough time to go over to DC. Don’t even get me started on what it’s like to park in DC, people. (Hello, Metro!)
Once I get to the Library of Congress, I think I’ll be in book nerdvana. Can there be any better fate? *sighs wistfully* Maybe someday.