After her offbeat foray into international art fraud (Murder at the National Gallery, 1996), D.C. doyenne Truman returns to the scene of one of her earliest crimes--Capitol Hill--in this tangled tale of eight-term Congressman Paul Latham, whose nomination as Secretary of State runs into trouble on the night before his confirmation hearings, when he's gunned down in Statuary Hall, the former chamber of the House of Representatives. The Washington gossip mill doesn't buy the killer's first cover story (suicide), but it snaps up the second: a sex scandal based on longtime Latham appointments secretary Marge Edwards's allegations of harassment--allegations that become shriekingly persistent when Marge disappears before she can confirm or deny the story. But the real perps, as law prof Mac Smith's CIA contacts tell him in soliciting his help, are a high-handed millionaire and the ring of improbable Russian da-men he's using as insiders to float trade deals that'll leave him even richer and more powerful, and as enforcers to wipe out anybody who gets in the way. It all boils over when Latham's daughter Molly, a new House page, is taken hostage in her late father's office and frog-marched down to a climax in a ""huge, ornate chamber, 139 feet long and 93 feet wide,"" in a shoot-out that miraculously doesn't manage to wing any of the tour guides that must be lurking only a few yards away. Mac doesn't get off as lightly as the tour guides, which seems unfair, considering that neither he nor his wife Annabel does any detection. Neither does anybody else.