Monday, September 18, 2017

Calamity at the Continental Club

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.

My Review:
3.5 stars

This was an interesting mystery, containing some fun moments and fun facts about some famous D.C. sites. I enjoyed getting to travel around D.C. to places both familar and new to me, which enhanced the story for me. I also greatly enjoyed the twists and turns as well as the fast-paced intrigue, which made this book a fast read. In addition, I loved Clarence (I'm a sucker for detective animals, even unintended helpers).

However, I had a hard time falling in love with the other characters. Many of them, especially Kit, were overly pushy and overeager at times, making these amateur detectives seem too much of amateurs at times, not knowing when to let the police get involved or take a step back to evaluate their decisions, something vital in amateur detective stories. I understand they were meant to be amateurs, but even amateur detectives need to have more sense than Kit and the others displayed at times. I don't know if this is affected by the fact that I didn't read the first two books in this series, where Doug apparently disapproves of Kit's getting involved. That was not the case here, where he eagerly encouraged her to get involved, which I feel potentially took away a previous voice of reason responsible for raising objections and forcing the characters to think twice (which can bring about smarter/more realistic decisions). So even if the mysteries are stand alone, I would recommend reading the first books in the series as I might have felt a bit differently about the characters had I read them first. 

Overall though, this was a fun, quick read, good for fans of amateur detective novels.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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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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