As a mystery reader, when I can identify with a particular element of a story it’s
a special treat. However, when I can personally experience something from a book,
that story really comes alive. I had one of these experiences while reading Margaret
Truman’s, Murder at the Kennedy Center.
The location for Truman’s books is Washington, DC and there was a period in my
career when I was assigned for several months to a special project in DC. Instead
of lodging at one of the large commercial hotels in center city with all of
the traffic and tourists I preferred to stay at one of the smaller neighborhood
boutique hotels. My choice was the River Inn located in the residential section
of Foggy Bottom.
After a long day at work, it was my custom to relax with a mystery book before
deciding what to do about dinner. This particular evening I was enjoying Truman’s
murder mystery featuring her amateur detective Mac Smith.
I was reading the chapter where Mac is meeting a reporter to discuss the murder that
happened near the Kennedy Center. Imagine my surprise when I read the meeting was taking place at the Foggy Bottom Cafe located in the River Inn.
Mac and the reporter find the café very busy and comment the restaurant must be
giving away their famous onion rings. Since onion rings are a specialty of
the house they add an order to go with their drinks.
How could I resist? I picked up the phone, dialed room service and placed an order for onion rings. And before you ask, they were absolutely delicious and some of the best onion
rings I have ever eaten–even to this day.
This was one of the nice features of Truman’s books. She used actual Washington
locations. Her descriptions were so accurate that you could follow her characters
through the streets of Washington, enjoy a meal at the character’s favorite restaurant
and visit the same museums, hotels and tourist attractions where events in the book took place.
I also enjoy visiting and learning about the many fictional towns featured in other mystery books. In my upcoming book I use a fictional town. However, it was truly a fun experience to eat onion rings at the River Inn while reading a good Truman mystery.