All Your Best ‘Mortal Friends’

Author Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s latest novel is the talk of the town, whether you’re in it or not.

By Kevin Chaffee

Author Jane Stanton Hitchcock at home

Author Jane Stanton Hitchcock at home

What do Jim Kimsey, Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Carolyn Peachey, Liz Stevens, Amanda Downes, Jim Johnson, Deborah Gore Dean, Rima Al-Sabah, Ann Jordan, Carol Joynt, Leo and Grega Daly, and Rep. Jane Harmon have in common? – apart from living in Washington, that is.

Yes, all were spotted at the party celebrating Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s recent novel, “Mortal Friends,” at Café Milano on Thursday night, but there is a far deeper connection. It turns out that each is a character in her book – but under a totally different name, of course.

Anyone who really knows the Washington scene won’t have too much trouble deciphering that “Nouria Salaha,” described as the ultra-fashionable spouse of a Middle Eastern ambassador, is based on top diplomatic hostess Rima Al-Sabah, wife of Kuwaiti Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah. Or that “Bob Poll,” an “ageless rake with military bearing” sure seems a lot like AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey, who, if he minded any of the comparisons, was shrugging them off that night (as he did during Joynt’s sold-out “Q&A” lunch with Hitchcock at Nathan’s earlier that day).

“Mortal Friends” is sure to be this summer’s essential plane or beach read. It’s a delicious thriller filled with social climbing, back-stabbing, deceit, betrayal, and the hunt for a serial killer who carries out his terrible deeds in such familiar haunts as Georgetown’s Montrose Park. No wonder Politics and Prose sold out every copy – the first time that has ever happened at a book party, according to a member of the sales staff.

Guests sipped wine and Champagne while waiting patiently in line for author inscriptions. It wasn’t long before the crowd spilled out into the reception area, and from there to patio where Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president, had quietly entered to dine with a friend (even she ended up getting a book.)

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Jane Stanton Hitchcock's latest novel "Mortal Friends" explore dangerous liaisons in Washington social life.

Here’s who else was there:

From the diplomatic corps: German Ambassador Klaus Sharioth, Yemeni Ambassador Abdulwahab Al-Hajjri, Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki and Yoriko Fujisaki, and Lady (Julia) Sheinwald, wife of British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald.

From the media: Jim Hoagland (Hitchcock’s spouse), Bob Schieffer, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Tammy Haddad, Andrea Mitchell, Margaret Carlson, Edie Emery, Jim Lehrer, David Corn, Ann Geracimos, Roxanne Roberts, Fred Hiatt, Patrick Gavin, Steve Smith and Sally Bedell Smith.

From the social scene: Andy Athy, Michael and Afsaneh Beschloss, Dr. Susan Blumenthal, Conrad and Ludmila Cafritz, Buffy Cafritz, Marcia Carter, John Cecchi, Walter and Didi Cutler, Count Renaud de Viel Castel, Susan Eisenhower, Nini Ferguson, Bitsey Folger, Jim and Ann Free, Ina Ginsburg, Lloyd and Ann Hand, June Hechinger, Chris and Jennifer Isham, Winston Bao Lord, Capricia Marshall, Mac and Donna McLarty, Bill and Dorothy McSweeny, John and Diana Negroponte, Mike Peabody, Gerald and Eden Rafshoon, Lucky Roosevelt, Jackie Rush, Aniko Gaal Schott, Prince Ermias Selassie, Jamal Simmons, and Judith Terra.

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