Still another room in FDR's White House is profaned by an unseemly corpse, this one of inoffensive wholesale shoe salesman George Shen, who certainly had no business in the White House--and who left no record, despite stiff wartime security, of ever having signed in. So alongside the relatively feeble mystery of whodunit (think Japanese spies, secret codes, little red pills with unintended side effects) lies the considerably more clever mystery of howdid-he-get-in. The role of the First Lady, the nominal heroine of a series that's outlived her author son's death (Murder at Midnight, 1997, etc.), is subordinated to those of Secret Service agent Robert Kirkwal and D.C. Chief of Detectives Captain Edward Kennelly, both of whom find themselves, for security reasons, abruptly named Commanders in the Naval Reserve. But the real star here is Soong Mei-ling, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, on an official visit to importune the US to deflect more of its war effort from the European theater to the Japanese, who are harassing her husband, the corrupt Generalissimo who prattles of peace and freedom while hiding behind his scant divisions back in his petty fiefdom. The tangled, predictable plot, with its legions of sinister Orientals, springs to life every time Madame Chiang sweeps into the room.