The Murder of Andrew Johnson

The Murder of Andrew Johnson

"Provocative ... entertaining ... evokes the period brilliantly"
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Another fun, history-based whodunit from Solomon"
--Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle

"As in this tale, historical fiction rewards when it reveals the lineaments of an era--the seamy Gilded Age presents bountiful possibilities for a research-driven writer like Solomon--and captivates with a tight plot."
--Paul Starobin, host of "America and Beyond" podcast on New Books Network


The night President Lincoln was shot, on April 14, 1865, Vice President Andrew Johnson was supposed to be assassinated as well. He wasn't, for reasons that history has never made clear. Instead, he became the 17th president of the United States, and one of the most reviled.

Ten years later, Johnson died in eastern Tennessee of apoplexy, the doctors said--strokes, in the parlance of the day. In The Murder of Andrew Johnson, he was poisoned. Plenty were the people who wanted him gone.

Known as the Great Commoner, he was the voice of Americans who felt abandoned--a demagogue, a bully, an unapologetic racist who gloried in his enemies and violated the political and rhetorical norms of the day. He was the first president to be impeached--and acquitted. (Sound familiar?)

In my novel, John Hay is sent to Johnson's funeral as a reporter for the New-York Tribune and winds up investigating what he suspects is a murder. His pursuit of the truth takes him from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., delving into Johnson's fractured family, his impeachment, his instruments of blackmail, and the awful night of Lincoln's assassination. Hay sees every side of the nation's capital, from Murder Bay to the White House, where he courts President Ulysses S. Grant, and engages in some criminal behavior himself.

This suspenseful romp through U.S. history is the third in a trilogy of historical mysteries, featuring John Hay at different stages in his life. Here, he is 36 years old, recently married and newly a dad, who is learning to leave his bachelor days behind. His is an American coming-of-age story, bringing to life our past as entertainment.

The Murder of Andrew Johnson is available on October 3, 2023, at bookstores everywhere and online at Macmillan Publishing,, and

Andrew Johnson Portrait

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