2. Scandal in the Secret City

Scandal in the Secret CityTHE BOOK: “Scandal in the Secret City.”


THE AUTHOR: Diane Fanning


SUMMARY: Libby Clark, a gutsy Bryn Mawr graduate, is determined to find her place as a scientist in a world where women are thought better suited to housework and marriage. As the only female scientist in the top secret facility, Libby is excited to begin what she believes is important government research.

She soon begins to suspect, however, that not all is as it seems. And to make matters worse, one frosty night she discovers the dead body of her roommate’s sister sprawled behind the bleachers. No one else seems to think finding the killer is important and it’s up to Libby to make sense of the situation. Aided by a band of like-minded scientists, Libby follows every possible lead until she comes to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

THE BACK STORY: While working on a true crime book, HER DEADLY WEB, about Raynella Dossett Leath, who was convicted of murdering one husband and suspected of killing another, I learned that Raynella spent many of her formative years in Oak Ridge and her father was one of the founders of the museum there. I was drawn into the history of this unique town, learning more than I could use in that book. It sparked my interest in ing more research about that town’s role in our nation’s history and ultimately in writing fiction set in that installation during World War II.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, otherwise known as the Secret City, rose seemingly overnight in 1942, built by the US Government. No one was quite sure what its purpose was or where it came from, but from the presence of 70,000 employees and the non-stop delivery of train deliveries, there was certainly something going on. Since the people living there were not allowed to tell anyone the name of the place where they lived and worked, they called it The Secret City.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: While television shows like Manhattan and The Bomb and many fiction and non-fiction books focus on what was happening in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has gone relatively unnoticed. Yet, without the sacrifice and hard work of the people in the Secret City, the scientists at Los Alamos would have had nothing to test and the outcome of the war the subject of debate.


“Thought-provoking details of the obstacles women faced in the wartime workforce.” Kirkus Reviews

“Fanning’s intricate and smart new novel. Libby herself is a brave and admirable career woman, and seeing her in action, carefully hunting the truth while refusing to play down her expertise, makes for a very satisfying story.” — Historical Novel Society

“A fascinating new historical series that also offers an almost sociological study of women’s issues during World War II. Her refreshingly original amateur sleuth is smart, strong-willed, and independent in an era when marriage was usually the only career option for women.” — Library Journal

“Fanning re-creates the atmosphere at Oak Ridge effectively, and her exploration of the ethical issues surrounding security are timely today. A promising new series.” — Booklist

AUTHODiane FanningR PROFILE: I suppose you could describe me as restless. I’ve jumped around geographically from Baltimore to Virginia and then to Texas—and now I’m back in Virginia again. My writing life also reflects my nomadic nature. My first published book was non-fiction in the true crime genre. I then wrote a stand-alone novel, followed by seven police procedurals in the Lieutenant Lucinda Pierce series and most recently historical fiction with this book and this summer’s completion of its sequel, TREASON IN THE SECRET CITY. Along the way, I’ve been nominated for an Edgar, received the Defender of the Innocent award from the Innocence Project and appeared on more television shows than I can remember. I now live in Bedford, Virginia, with my husband, Wayne, and a crazy young sheltie named Emmitt Otter. To find out more about my true crime books, visit: http://dianefanning.com/true-crime-books; The Lucinda Pierce series: http://dianefanning.com/lucinda-pierce-detective-series; and the Secret City novels: http://dianefanning.com/project/scandal-in-the-secret-city.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “My books have always been entangled with social issues and SCANDAL IN THE SECRET CITY is no exception. There is an exploration of women’s struggles in the workplace in the 1940’s, the ethical dilemmas raised by scientific development and the sacrifice of freedoms in exchange for security.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://dianefanning.com/scandal-in-the-secret-city/scandal-in-the-secret-city-chapter-1

LOCAL OUTLETS: Murder by the Book, Powell’s Books.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

PRICE: Hardcover: $28.95/Trade Paperback $17.95/ eBook $9.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email: diane@dianefanning.com Website: http://www.dianefanning.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/diane.fanning Facebook page for this series: http://www.facebook.com/scandalinthesecretcity Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dianefanning @dianefanning

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

One thought on “2. Scandal in the Secret City”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s