Friday, January 16, 2009

Sarah Booth Conroy, 1927–2009.

I was saddened to read the news of the death of longtime Washington Post reporter Sarah Booth Conroy at the age of 81 due to Alzheimer's disease. Sarah Booth was a die-hard mystery fan (her husband Richard wrote some mystery novels plus two humorous memoirs on his foreign service career, Our Man in Belize and Our Man in Vienna); was a familiar, warm presence at Malice Domestic in her one-of-a-kind jewelry designed by Richard; and often interviewed mystery writers for the Post. It was her Chronicles column on Sarah Caudwell that revealed that Caudwell's ancester, Admiral George Cockburn, burned the White House during the War of 1812.

As Sarah Booth had known Alice Roosevelt Longworth during her journalistic career, I took the opportunity to run my impressions of Alice by her before I wrote two short stories that featured TR's eldest daughter; I was relieved to learn that I was on target.

Sarah Booth's one novel, Refinements of Love, was an interesting treatment of the Five of Hearts group: Henry Adams, Clover Adams, John Hay, Clara Hay, and Clarence King. For a tribute to her from a Post colleague, go here; for a look at some of the wonderful things that were in the Conroy home, go here.

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