by Colleen J. Shogan
During the annual meeting of the Mayflower Society at Washington, D.C.’s Continental Club, Kit Marshall is pressed by her future mother-in-law to set a wedding date and choose a venue. A reprieve comes when the head of the society, a multimedia tycoon, is murdered. The prime suspect is Kit’s finance’s father. With the Hollingsworths’ reputations and freedom at stake, Kit sets out to find the real killer.
My Fitbit buzzed, its annoying way of reminding me it was time to get moving. Somehow Gertrude Harper had managed to remain slim without jogging around Dupont Circle. I wasn’t so fortunate.
I turned away from her portrait to head back toward the main staircase. In the far corner of the room near the entrance to the club’s library, I spotted a man’s dress shoe. How odd. The Continental Club wasn’t the type of place where patrons had one too many glasses of wine and lost their footwear en route to bed. That went double for the Mayflower Society crowd who occupied the vast majority of suites inside the building.
Curiosity got the better of me. The library entrance was adjacent to another Continental Club treasure I’d wanted to check out, the bronze bust of Benjamin Franklin. During the Second World War, when the club met inside Dolley Madison’s former house, the Franklin statue adorned the room where key discussions about nuclear fission and the atomic bomb took place. Now it resided on a perfectly engineered pedestal in front of a prominent arched window, inviting photographers strolling along the nearby street to take advantage of the striking profile it provided when the light was just right.
I didn’t get much of a chance to admire Franklin or read the detailed inscription at the base of the statue. A guest who’d unwisely overindulged hadn’t abandoned his shoe the night before. Instead, the shoe belonged to a man whose body lay flat on the floor of the library.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress and works on great programs such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.
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4 out of 5 stars
“Calamity at the Continental Club” by Colleen J. Shogan is Book 3 in the ‘Washington Whodunit’ series that features Capitol Hill staffer Kit Marshall. A stressful interlude with her in-laws-to-be during the annual meeting of the Mayflower Society is complicated by Kit’s penchant for getting involved in murder investigations, but this time the stakes are even higher. Between her presumptive mother-in-law’s rabid interest in wedding planning and her prospective father-in-law’s star position in a murder investigation, Kit and her fiancé have plenty to deal with, and Kit’s sideline suddenly becomes amazingly useful.
This fun cozy mystery provides an entertaining armchair tour of several historically significant areas of D.C. while detailing the machinations of the jockeying for position and power in a historical society. The vague counterpoint of what is involved in being a congressional aide adds to the realism and evocation of the atmosphere of life in D.C. This is part of a series, so I think I might have appreciated the characters more if I was familiar with the previous stories, but for me they started out a little stiff and slowly developed more personality as the story progressed. Despite that, there was no significant problem reading this as a stand-alone story. I liked the mystery itself and the red herrings that were trailed in front of the reader’s nose, and I particularly liked the solution Kit and Doug came up with at the very end of the book as it appeals to my sense of whimsy and certainly sounds unique. There were lots of interesting facts sprinkled through the story and I think those who like cozy mysteries with a bit of historical bias will enjoy this story.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review.