Margaret Truman's Experiment in Murder (Capital Crimes Series #26)

Margaret Truman's Experiment in Murder (Capital Crimes Series #26)

2.7 15
by Margaret Truman, Donald Bain

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Margaret Truman thrills again with Experiment in Murder, a riveting installment in the Capital Crimes series!

A Washington psychiatrist is killed in a hit-and-run on the street in front of his office. Suspicion quickly focuses on one of the doctor's patients, and Mackenzie Smith is called in to defend her. Then information emerges that links the slain

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Margaret Truman thrills again with Experiment in Murder, a riveting installment in the Capital Crimes series!

A Washington psychiatrist is killed in a hit-and-run on the street in front of his office. Suspicion quickly focuses on one of the doctor's patients, and Mackenzie Smith is called in to defend her. Then information emerges that links the slain shrink to a highly secret CIA mind-control project.

A young man, the perfect mind control subject, is programmed to assassinate the front-runner in the U.S. presidential race. As he zeroes in on his target, other government agencies become aware of the rogue CIA program. Mac's client, the accused killer, seems to be the key to infiltrating the project—she's become the perfect spy.

But the assassin is programmed to kill anyone who threatens him or his organization—even Mac and his wife, Annabel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bain (Trouble at High Tide and 36 other Murder She Wrote mysteries) channels the late Margaret Truman in the 26th Capital Crimes novel (after 2011’s Monument to Murder). The hit-and-run death in Washington, D.C., of psychiatrist Mark Sedgwick is the opening salvo in an operation led by a rogue CIA agent and a San Francisco psychiatrist, who aim to use a psychologically programmed assassin to kill liberal presidential candidate Sen. George Mortinson. Dr. Nicolas Tatum, who teaches a seminar on evaluating human behavior at George Washington Law School, fingers one of Sedgwick’s patients as the programmed assassin, to his peril. Series regulars Mackenzie Smith and his wife, Annabel Lee-Smith, serve as mere observers and advisers. Bain gets mileage from the many government-funded mind control experiments, conspiracy theories, and big money politics. Political junkies of all stripes should find something to feed their appetites, though cynics will probably be most rewarded. Agent: Bob Diforio, D4EO Literary. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Mac and Annabel unearth an assassination plot linked to a mind-control experiment gone awry. The late Truman's popular and long-running series is ably continued by Bain (after her Monument to Murder: A Capital Crimes Novel). [See Prepub Alert, 7/2/12.]
Kirkus Reviews
Bain, longtime ghostwriter to TV sleuth Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote: Domestic Malice, 2012, etc.), emerges from the shadows to tell how the hit-and-run murder of a D.C. psychiatrist leads a clinical psychologist to a vast CIA-funded brainwashing project in this Margaret Truman Capital Crimes novel. Every morning, Dr. Mark Sedgwick walks across Virginia Avenue from his apartment on one side of the busy street to his office on the other. One morning, a woman in a white car takes deadly aim and runs him down. The Metro Police Department traces the car to Sheila Klaus, who just happens to be a patient of Dr. Sedgwick's. Betty Martinez, Dr. Sedgwick's receptionist, reluctantly reveals that the psychiatrist took his patient on several trips to the Lightpath Psychiatric Clinic in San Francisco. But, his companion was ticketed as Carla Rasmussen. Sheila's insistence that she knows nothing about Lightpath, Carla or Sedgwick's death rings so true to Dr. Nicholas Tatum, a psychologist who works part time at the MPD's Criminal Behavior Unit, that he convinces his friend, attorney Mackensie Smith (Monument to Murder, 2011, etc.), to represent her. Nic sees Sheila as a "Dionysian"--a highly suggestible hypnotic subject--and suspects Lightpath's director, Dr. Sheldon Borger, of using her to kill Sedgwick. But Borger has still bigger fish to fry. Working with funding provided through CIA operative Colin Landow, Borger recruits Iskander Itani, a Lebanese boxer with chronic pain and a grudge against Israelis. Under the guise of curing his headaches, the hypnotherapist grooms Itani to assassinate presidential contender George Mortinson, whose progressive agenda annoys Borger. Whether Nic can connect the dots from Sedgwick to Borger to Itani is nobody's guess. What starts as a pedestrian accident ends up as pedestrian storytelling that not even a CIA-sponsored, hypnotically induced, politically motivated murder can jazz up.

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Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Capital Crimes Series, #26
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt





He’d crossed Virginia Avenue a thousand times since taking an apartment across the street from his office three years ago. It meant jaywalking—one summons in the three years, a small price to pay for not having to trudge to a corner crossing, especially in the sweltering heat of summer in the nation’s capital. His morning sprint across the broad avenue involved more than avoiding a ticket, however. Dodging speeding cars was a greater hurdle, with more dire consequences. He’d come to consider it a contest, a test of his agility and quickness of foot, a game he’d always won.

*   *   *

His move to the apartment followed the divorce from Jasmine, his wife of twenty-two years. Until the breakup he’d commuted from their home in Chevy Chase to his downtown office, where he spent the day listening to the trials and tribulations of his patients as they reclined on his couch, a box of tissues always within easy reach, and poured out their troubles to Dr. Mark Sedgwick.

“Dr. Mark,” as his patients called him, at least those with enough tenure on his couch to be comfortable with it, graduated from the University of California Medical School in San Francisco in 1964. He’d aspired to become an orthopedic surgeon, but his manual dexterity was judged lacking by his professors. They suggested a medical specialty demanding less physical challenge. What could be less physical than psychiatry?

He wasn’t disappointed at this shift in direction his medical studies had taken. He quickly discovered that he enjoyed delving into the human psyche more than peering into spinal columns or replacing arthritic knees and hips. What prompted people to do things became infinitely more interesting to him than how they did them.

He’d intended to do his residency in San Francisco, where he’d been born, and to establish a practice there. But an offer from the George Washington University Department of Psychiatry in Washington, D.C., lured him east. Fresh with an M.D. after his name—and now better able to secure restaurant reservations as Dr. Sedgwick—he would have followed through on his intention to return to San Francisco. But he met Jasmine, a nurse at the hospital.

Jasmine Smith—her parents chose the more exotic first name Jasmine to counterbalance her mundane last name—set her sights on the handsome resident Mark Sedgwick from the day he walked in. Her feminine charms were evident front and back, but it was her wide, ready smile that derailed his plan to return home. He accepted a staff position at the hospital, and they were married after a relatively short courtship. Two children later, a boy and a girl, they bought the house in Chevy Chase and settled into what was to be blissful domesticity. But the bliss soon came off the rose, to mix metaphors, and they grew increasingly apart, especially when Sedgwick resigned from the hospital to open a private practice on Virginia Avenue N.W. The pressure of getting an office up and running, coupled with a growing involvement with a psychiatric institute in San Francisco, meant little time at home for the good doctor and led to the eventual dissolution of the marriage, which Sedgwick choreographed in order to, as he told Jasmine, minimize the hurt to all. He was, after all, a psychiatrist.

*   *   *

Now, three years later, he began his day as he always did. Sedgwick was very much a creature of habit—routine was essential. His alarm went off at seven twenty, its backup buzzer sounding at seven thirty. Coffee had been ground and mixed the night before, and the coffeemaker was timed to begin brewing at seven fifteen. Because it was summer, Sedgwick took his coffee and a bowl of yogurt with mixed fruit and nuts to the balcony of his third-floor apartment, shady in the morning before the sun swung around to make it uncomfortably hot. He downloaded that day’s Washington Post to his BlackBerry and read the news while eating.

At eight o’clock he was in the shower, dried off by eight fifteen, dressed by eight forty-five, and on his way downstairs at eight fifty-five. His first patient would arrive at nine twenty for her forty-minute session.

He prepared to cross the avenue the way he always did after having received his jaywalking ticket a year earlier, looking up and down the street for signs of the police. Seeing none, he stepped off the curb and took in the traffic. It wasn’t unusually busy at that hour, men and women driving to work in the city’s major industry, government and all its elements. He waited until a stream of cars had passed and there was a break in the traffic. The sun to his left blinded him as he looked in that direction, then he observed the situation to his right. It looked good, and he started across.

He was halfway to the other side when he became aware of a car bearing down on his right. He hadn’t seen it, but he sensed it. He turned in that direction, and his mouth opened and a prolonged “Nooo” came from it. The vehicle, a white sedan, raced toward him, going at least sixty miles per hour, probably faster. Because he stood in the middle of the avenue, the driver could have opted to go either in front of him or behind. But the car straddled the median stripe, its engine revving loudly, no sound of brakes being applied, no sign of trying to stop. It struck Sedgwick head on with a thud that was heard up and down the street and sent him flying onto the hood, his head crashing into the windshield and creating a spiderweb of cracks on the driver’s side. Sedgwick’s body was propelled off. He hit the pavement and tumbled thirty feet before coming to rest, a pool of blood oozing from his crushed skull and creating a crimson circle around it.


Copyright © 2012 by Estate of Margaret Truman

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Margaret Truman's Experiment in Murder: A Capital Crimes Novel 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Tim_C More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed this book, it would have been better served not being part of the Margaret Truman series. There were too many new characters and not much development behind them. The 2 mainstays were inconsequential to the book. At 750 pages, it was quite long and wordy. If a new one is to come out, I hope that the original characters play a better part in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst book I have read by M. Truman. She must be turning over in her grave.
prussblue10 More than 1 year ago
I was sorely disappointed with this title. Trying to favorably compare any of Margaret Truman's other titles in the series with what Donald Bain did in this one would be a stretch of more than imagination. I saw the PrePub alert by Library Journal (07/12) and can't believe that they even cracked the cover. They said that, "Mac and Annabel unearth an assassination plot." Mac and Annabel are secondary characters at best with new characters doing the action. However, the story line is poorly contrived. I have read some of Bain in the past and did not have bad heart burn for what his stories were worth. But, this was a truly poor showing and I read the whole thing hoping to the last that it might get better. It didn't get better. I saw elsewhere opinions that there was more selling of agendas than story telling. I would have to concur with those opinions.
Anonymous 3 months ago
His name in very small print who did plot and who did writing? This plot of made killers by secret goverment agencies by cia or fbi is one of a dozen part of the series was the focus on w d c various institutions like library of congress or watergate etc this is no longer a truman and in all honesty just get her name off cover and his in big print will not continue series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book, and one that had decided to read, as some of the earlier Truman books were awkwardly written in places. I lived in DC for 10 years so I was eager to see how she might use the locale. In most the locale won over, but now that Bain has been revealed art the author of most of Truman's books, it seems that he has been freed from her direct influence, and this book is a winner. I am trying to juggle it with my work, and use it as a treat after a hard day. Superb work. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as real Margaret Truman
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not worth reading--someone's political agenda. Only the names are Truman's.
avidreaderJO More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed reading this series, but this book was awful. I don't think M. Truman would recognize her characters. And no real sense of Washington D.C.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing. The writing rambles and the story drags. I am 3/4 through the book, and I will finish it, but I am not enjoying the read. I wish I hadn't paid money for the book.