In­trigue and mur­der in Washington

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Reads - Re­view by ALEX GANGITANO

FIC­TIONAL White House staffer Kit Mar­shall solves yet an­other mur­der mys­tery, but this time, it isn’t on Washington DC’s Capi­tol Hill.

While her boss, a con­gress­woman from North Carolina, is home dur­ing a Con­gres­sional re­cess, Mar­shall, her chief of staff, spends an ex­tended week­end with her fi­ance’s par­ents at a down­town Washington DC club.

Calamity At The Con­ti­nen­tal Club takes place in­side an elite club in a man­sion and re­volves around a his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety’s an­nual meet­ing. Over vis­its to var­i­ous Smith­so­nian mu­se­ums and fancy din­ners, the so­ci­ety’s pres­i­dent and his wife are found dead in the club.

Au­thor Colleen J. Shogan, a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at the Li­brary of Congress, first in­tro­duced us to Mar­shall in Stab­bing In The Senate (2015), the first book in her Washington Who­dunit se­ries. It was fol­lowed by last year’s Homi­cide In The House.

The third in the se­ries was re­leased re­cently, and Mar­shall, now a more se­nior staffer, has de­vel­oped into a ma­ture, so­phis­ti­cated Wash­ing­to­nian and is bal­anc­ing her ca­reer with plan­ning a DC wed­ding.

In the first two mur­der mys­ter­ies, read­ers got an in­side look at Mar­shall in ac­tion on the Hill.

This novel’s plot de­vel­ops when she finds a body at the Con­ti­nen­tal Club and her nat­u­ral in­stinct to play de­tec­tive comes out.

Mar­shall recruits a cou­ple of friends to help her and her fi­ance solve the mur­der. The two recruits don’t get along, though, which leads to some fun lines.

For in­stance, as Mar­shall walks into a room with them seated in­side, she says, “They were in a cor­ner booth, sit­ting on op­po­site sides and glar­ing at each other with the vit­riol usu­ally re­served for health care re­form de­bates in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives”.

The two friends, with Mar­shall lis­ten­ing in, de­bate whether staffers are “wast­ing” their lives work­ing for the US Congress.

In a de­tour from her pre­vi­ous books, Shogan in­cludes many dif­fer­ent sites around DC to cre­ate a mini-tourism guide of the Amer­i­can cap­i­tal.

“I write these books to help folks ex­pe­ri­ence places they don’t have ac­cess to – the real Washington, but with some fun twists. That’s why I started with the in­ner work­ings of the US Senate and House,” Shogan said in a news re­lease.

Mar­shall uses vis­its to the Na­tional Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory, the Na­tional Archives, and Mount Ver­non to solve the mur­der. The Sculp­ture Gar­den at the Na­tional Gallery of Art is also the lo­ca­tion for a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion.

Prior to her job at the Li­brary of Congress, au­thor Shogan was deputy di­rec­tor of the Con­gres­sional Re­search Ser­vice and be­fore that, a Senate staffer.

She is work­ing on a fourth ad­di­tion to the se­ries, K Street Killing, that will be re­leased next year.

Stab­bing In The Senate won first place in the mys­tery cat­e­gory at two book fes­ti­vals: the 2016 Next Gen­er­a­tion In­die Book Awards and the Na­tional In­die Ex­cel­lence Awards.

It will also be reprinted as part of Har­lequin’s World­wide Mys­tery se­ries.

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