Ford joins the ranks of mystery writers who are also First Children with a tale of White House intrigue. Here, gutsy photographer Eve Cooper is pitted against a blackmail scheme that threatens the domestic tranquility her presidential father has worked so hard to give his family—despite the challenges attendant upon being always in the public eye. The blackmail victim, Baltimore ad exec Roger Stansfield, seems to have been caught literally with his pants down, cavorting with an unidentified blond in the Lincoln bedroom. But the real victims are the Coopers. Once a photo of Stansfield’s escapade turns up on the corpse of Sterling O’Connor, twin brother of White House chief usher Burton O’Connor, all hell breaks loose. Stansfield’s wife—a brunette, alas—heads straight for her attorney. Peter Seybold, Chief of the Presidential Protection Division, whose initial brief was to investigate the Sterling’s apparent death by heart attack, must quickly shoulder the escalating burden of defending President Cooper against charges that he accepted illegal contributions funneled through Stansfield from big tobacco interests. And Eve must offer moral support to her 16-year old brother Drew, risk the ridicule of official presidential photographer Michael Cauffman, brave the wrath of White House curator Carl Wallerstein, and suffer the indignities of being shadowed by her omnipresent Secret Service agents—all while pursuing her growing suspicion that the offending photos are fakes.
The underlying mystery defies common sense, but Ford’s debut offers some pleasant glimpses behind the scenes at the White House.