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The (Updated) Great Washington Novel List

Recently, Hill Navigator sent out a request for novels set in Washington, D.C., that were written by women. Apparently such a request is esoteric enough that it took some serious thinking to come up with a suggested reading list. But never fear, a list of female-authored novels has arrived.

Hill Navigator has not personally read all of these, so cannot vouch for their literary merits. But as someone who believes in reading from all walks of life and collecting book recommendations, this list is a good start to enhance your summer reading. And it beats sitting on the beach with Robert Caro’s “Master of the Senate.”

1. Anything by Margaret Truman Daniel, including “Murder in Georgetown”, “Murder in Foggy Bottom” and “Murder on K Street.” Harry Truman’s daughter was a novelist, who knew? And she set her murder mysteries deep in D.C., with all the politics and thrills that accompany this town from someone who knows it intimately. The recommendation of Truman Daniel’s books came from Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va. — we’re glad to know there are enlightened men out there who read novels written by women.

2. “Sammy’s Hill” and “Sammy’s House” both written by Kristin Gore. Another famous politician’s daughter writes about Capitol Hill and the White House in a way that could broadly appeal to people both in and out of the Beltway. I can appreciate any book that delves deep into the inner-workings of Congress, though there is a generation of West Wing fanatics who prefer their political entertainment be centered on the White House.

3. “Cocktails and Murder on the Potomac” by Mary-Jane Deeb. Deeb works at the Library of Congress and submitted this recommendation: “It highlights many interesting spots in our nation’s capital. Many of the events described actually took place (concerts, fashion show, etc…) although the mystery itself and the events surrounding the mystery are fictional.” The book is only available on the Kindle, but at this point not having a Kindle is like being the only one in the room still using a BlackBerry …

4. “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron. Confession: Most of my Ephron exposure comes from her movies, including perennial favorite “You’ve Got Mail.” A reader recommended “Heartburn”, which is based on Ephron’s own marriage (and divorce) to Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein. It’s always fun to take a glimpse at someone else’s rocky relationship, particularly with D.C. in the backdrop. For those who want to skip the reading and go straight to the movie starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep — that’s an option too.

5. “River, Cross My Heart” by Breena Clarke. There had to be at least one Oprah-endorsed book on the list. This one features a drowning in the Potomac. Several readers wrote in to recommend it, as well as other books written by Clarke, including “Stand the Storm.”

Miss something? Let Hill Navigator know.

Want to see the original list compiled by Roll Call After Dark’s Jason Dick? Take a look here.