This really is a pretty good book that just takes forever getting to the fast paced drama. We are literally half way through and still setting up the characters and story line before there is any major action. Anyway, Beecher White works in the National Archives with the most important documents in the entire country. His life is pretty dull with the exception of a fiancé who recently left him for no apparent reason which he is still moping about. His family and friends are trying to get him to forget about her and move on but he hangs on. I think we are supposed to believe he is pathetic due to the task in front of him which is the crux of the story.
Throughout the year the President of the United States visits the archives to do some reading and research and each visit one or two archivists get to wait upon him and fetch documents and books. The next visit by the President is announced and on the same day a girl, Clementine, from Beecher’s childhood is meeting him to do some research of her own. She has found Beecher on Facebook. She is not just any girl though – she is his first crush, his first kiss and he is once again besotted with her. The two of them had a few things in common from their childhood including that they were fatherless. She is in town to find out who her father was as she has some new information they can maybe use to trace him. Beecher is only too happy to help her and maybe continue their relationship outside of work.
On the day of Clementine’s visit, Beecher is showing her around the archives when the President’s arrival is announced. They are just peeking in the room the President will occupy when they happen upon a dictionary from the time of George Washington. The room is supposed to be completely empty and so in a panic and being afraid of being caught they run away from the scene. Five minutes later and the couple are intercepted by the arrival of emergency personnel who are there to pick up someone who has collapsed near to where the President is going. The President is ushered away and the patient is announced dead. The dead man is not only a coworker but also a friend of Beecher’s. This is the beginning of the mayhem that becomes Beecher’s life for the next few days. He has to not only prove his innocence but also get to the bottom of a 200 year mystery.