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The Murder of Willie Lincoln

A Novel

Burt Solomon


List Price: 17.99*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (2/20/2017)
Hardcover (2/21/2017)


The Murder of Willie Lincoln is an exciting historical fiction debut by award-winning journalist Burt Solomon.

Washington City, 1862: The United States lies in tatters, and the Civil War seems without end, despite Abraham Lincoln’s determination to keep his beloved country united. Lincoln’s soul is tested when tragedy strikes the White House: Willie, Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son, the shining light in the president’s life, dies—of typhoid fever, the doctors say.

Then a message arrives, suggesting that murder, not illness, caused Willie’s death. Lincoln asks John Hay, his trusted aide, to investigate. Hay, a boxer and a poet, is an adventurous, irreverent, skeptical, even cynical young man who is as close to Lincoln as a son.

The more Hay unearths, the more daunting his task seems. Suspicions of a secessionist conspiracy within the Executive Mansion itself. A threat to Lincoln’s surviving sons. An extortion attempt against the president’s hellcat of a wife. As the war rages on, John Hay chases the truth of Willie’s murder through the loftiest and lowest corners of Washington City.

As he closes in, he discovers just how far Lincoln’s enemies will go to keep him silent.

Praise For The Murder of Willie Lincoln: A Novel

“Solomon offers a deeply imagined and entirely plausible account of the Lincoln White House at its saddest…You won’t guess whodunit until the final, suspenseful page.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin

“Well-plotted, beautifully researched and gripping to the final page.”—Daniel Stashower, author of The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War

“Vivid, captivating, and, dare I say, seductively plausible.”—John Taliaferro, author of All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt

“An original plot, plausible characterizations of historical figures, and solid prose combine to make this historical fiction debut a winner.”—Publishers Weekly

“The puzzle is plausibly immersive, the solution heartrendingly surprising…Solomon portrays Hay as an effective, likable sleuth and compelling political player.”—Booklist

“An engaging roman a clef…here’s hoping that Mr. Solomon finds something else for John Hay to apply his fertile mind.”—The Washington Times

“The pace and characterizations in this mystery are superb. The historic backdrop is expertly painted, and everyone’s talk rings true: slave, free, secesh, Lincoln, even lascivious Kate Chase. But do not expect the expected ending.”—James M. Cornelius, Curator, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Springfield, Ill.

Forge Books, 9780765385857, 320pp.

Publication Date: November 12, 2019

About the Author

Burt Solomon is a contributing editor for The Atlantic and National Journal, where he has covered the White House and many other aspects of Washington life. In 1991 he won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He is also the author of the acclaimed Where They Ain't, a history of baseball in the 1890s. Solomon, his wife, and their two children live inside the Beltway. The Murder of Willie Lincoln is his first novel.