Calamity at the Continental Club
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.
Doug was conked out. I dressed quickly in my exercise clothes and grabbed the room key card before quietly closing the door. I skipped down two flights of stairs and arrived at the floor where we’d had dinner the night before. As I turned the corner past an antique grandfather clock, I spotted the portrait on the wall of Gertrude Harper, the granddaughter of the original mansion proprietors. I was no art historian, but I’d read that the Vermeer-influenced Frank Weston Benson had painted the comely twenty-four-year-old at the turn of the century. The National Gallery of Art owned the original oil painting, which had been on display in prominent places such as the vice-president’s residence and the National Portrait Gallery. With no chance of acquiring the masterpiece, the Continental Club had commissioned an impressive reproduction.
I’d planned to examine the portrait last night. Impressionism, even the American version, was my favorite period of art. We hadn’t lingered in the anteroom before or after dinner, so I’d given the painting no more than a passing glance.
Now I walked toward the mantelpiece to take a closer look. Gertrude really had been a beautiful young woman. The websites detailing the history of the building and the club hadn’t exaggerated her enchanting smile and the long strokes used to depict her flowing white dress. She was the Continental Club’s Mona Lisa.
This was a wonderful lazy afternoon read. It’s a well-constructed story steeped in interesting details about Washington D.C. – its buildings and monuments. The writing is breezy, humorous, and easy to follow. I enjoyed the banter between the characters. I could easily picture in my mind’s eye their mannerisms and, in many cases, snootiness. The book kept me on edge and usually smiling, especially when it came to the antics of scene-stealer Clarence. Kit is a strong, female amateur detective who is doggedly determined and able to remove or neutralize pesky roadblocks that get in her way.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
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.
Colleen J. Shogan will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.