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Barbara Mikulski: Senior Senator, Appropriator, Crime Novelist

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
Mikulski is the longest-serving female senator and the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. She’s also the co-author of two set-in-the-Senate crime novels focused on a lawmaker-turned-sleuth.

In the course of digging into MIA issues, Gorzack and her staff come upon an MIA advocacy group with a shadowy pattern of financial contributions to a senior senator. The group, which calls itself YANKS, begins to show connections to a growing body count. One of Gorzack’s young staffers turns up dead. The worm turns.

Like many a good novel, “Capitol Offense” ends with a twist not easily predicted by the reader. Gorzack’s theories prove correct, but her perceptions about the assailant are woefully off.

The second volume, “Capitol Venture,” digs into another series of bizarre events, including the murder of a Pennsylvania House member. Gorzack decides to run for a full term in the Senate, thanks in part to her national media profile as a crime-solving senator.

Few books written by senators would be on the top of anyone’s reading list — unless, perhaps, you’re a law student with an Elizabeth Warren bankruptcy textbook.

But if you can dig up copies of the Mikulski novels at a used bookstore or at the Senate Library in the basement of the Russell Building, they’re worth investigating.

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