Mystery writer and radio and TV personality Margaret Truman, the only child of former President Harry Truman, died Tuesday at age 83.
Truman, who died in Chicago after a brief illness, published her final novel, "Murder on K Street: A Capital Crimes Novel," last October. In all, she wrote 23 Washington-based mysteries beginning with "Murder in the White House" in 1980. Follow-up books took place in other famous D.C. sites, such as the Smithsonian and Supreme Court.
"We have had a long-standing relationship with Margaret Truman both at Random House and at Ballantine, and we are saddened to hear the news. We will miss her," says Gina Centrello, president and publisher of the Random House Publishing Group, which published most of her books.
Truman's career as a published author began in 1956 with her autobiography "Souvenir." She commented, at the time, that writing was "hard work," but she stayed with it. In addition to the novels, she published nine works of nonfiction, including a book on White House pets in 1969.
She was a college junior when her father became president in 1945. She also took singing lessons and made her professional debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1947. Two years later, she performed at Carnegie Hall.
Critics didn't speak kindly of her. When a Washington music critic wrote that she "is extremely attractive on the stage ... (but) cannot sing very well," her father sent him a note stating, "I have never met you, but if I do you'll need a new nose and plenty of beefsteak and perhaps a supporter below."
Her work in radio and television was more successful. She co-hosted a daily radio talk show for NBC with Mike Wallace, and she had her own nationally syndicated program for eight years.
In addition to her writing and work in broadcasting, Truman was honorary co-chair of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute.
Truman married journalist Clifton Daniel in 1956. He later became managing editor of The New York Times. They had four sons. Daniel died in 2000.