Calamity at the Continental Club, by Colleen J. Shogan: A Killer Strikes at an Exclusive Social Club

Continental_ClubA man is murdered at D.C.’s swanky Continental Club. Kit’s future father-in-law is the prime suspect. What better excuse does Kit need to put on her sleuthing cap?

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Calamity at the Continental Club ($15.95, 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-335-8), by Colleen J. Shogan, is the third Washington Whodunit: a cozy mystery series set in Washington D.C. featuring amateur sleuth Kit Marshall. Kit and Doug do their best to clear his father of murder and discover who is really responsible for killing the Continental Club’s darling, conservative multimedia tycoon Grayson Bancroft.

“Diverting [….] Interesting and informative trips to such historical sites as Mount Vernon, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian add spice to this appealing whodunit.”  Read more….

—Publishers Weekly

5 Stars: “A spectacular addition to the series, the pace, plot, and characters all develop steadily over the course of the story. The mystery itself will keep the reader guessing until the end, while having a logical course to follow. The minor romance thread continues to move on from where it left off in the previous book with a happy conclusion in sight. Furthermore, the story also has some of the funny and ridiculous moments that made the first two books pop.”  Read more….

—Sarah E Bradley for InD’Tale Magazine

Calamity at the Continental Club is a fun read and moves fast. Shogan injects humor into the story, through the first-person thoughts of Kit Marshall. [….] Shogan, familiar with the Washington, DC, museums and restaurants, freely shares her knowledge, bringing the reader more closely into the settings. For those who enjoy a quick read with a satisfying ending, put this on your shelf!”  Read more….

—Judith Reveal for the New York Journal of Books

“The third novel in Colleen Shogan’s outstanding Whodunit series, Calamity at the Continental Club once again reveals her genuine mastery of the genre. A consistently compelling and entertaining read from cover to cover, Calamity at the Continental Club is unreservedly recommended to the attention of dedicated mystery buffs and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.” Read more….

—Midwest Book Review, Wisconsin Bookwatch

“Each story in this series tops the last, all 3 are great reads. As before Colleen Shogan’s knowledge of D.C. shines brightly in this story and again I didn’t want the story to end even though I loved the ending.” Read more….

—Escape with Dollycas

“I totally enjoyed Calamity at the Continental Club, a well-written whodunit. The author takes the reader on a fast ride through the streets of D.C. and visiting some of our nation’s most historical treasures. [….] If you’re a fan of good, clean cozy mysteries you’ll enjoy this series.” Read more….

—My Reading Journeys

“A brilliant mystery. Author Shogan knows how to hold her readers’ attention that’s for certain. Each chapter brought with it more questions, intrigue, and twists and turns. With protagonist Kit Marshall becoming braver with each book, she took some chances that had me holding my breath. This fast moving, from cover to cover read, leads to a great reveal and a very satisfying conclusion.” Read more….

—Lisa K’s Book Reviews

“The book truly began to pull me in when Kit found Grayson Bancroft’s corpse as that was the moment when the book became more mysterious and less dramatic. The murder and the subsequent investigation were kept mostly clean, which was a nice change from the over use of violence and gore in most murder mysteries. Overall, I enjoyed this book.” Read more….

—Sefina Hawke for Readers’ Favorite

“I enjoyed the fact that it was more of a puzzle than other mysteries I’ve read. It felt a lot like Agatha Christie’s mysteries. I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series.” Read more….

—Valerie’s Musings

Reviewers have loved books 1 and 2, Stabbing in the Senate and Homicide in the House:

Homicide in the House: “A solid choice for political junkies and readers of Maggie Sefton, Fred Hunter, and Mike Lawson.” —Library Journal

Homicide in the House: “Shogan does a good job depicting the creaky, squeaky wheels of government, and Marshall plays politics and sleuth with equal dexterity in this capital Capitol Hill mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

Stabbing the Senate: “Readers who enjoy amateur sleuth mysteries written in the style of Agatha Christie will enjoy this promising debut mystery.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

Stabbing the Senate: “Loads of inside scoop about the workings of Senate offices—complete with all the gossiping, back-stabbing, and procedural maneuvering—plus an appealing young sleuth, sprightly pacing, and an edge-of-your-seat showdown on the Hart-Dirksen underground train.” —Literary Hill

The Mayflower Society is about to hold its annual meeting at Washington D.C.’s swanky gathering place for the elite, the Continental Club. That means Kit Marshall’s upper-crust future in-laws, Buffy and Winston Hollingsworth, are coming for a visit. Annoyed that Kit has not set a date to marry Doug, Buffy wants her to commit to a high society wedding at the club. Kit, though chief of staff for a congresswoman, feels uncomfortable with Buffy and Winston’s crowd.

Kit receives an unexpected reprieve in the form of murder. En route to her morning jog, she encounters the corpse of the leader of the Mayflower Society, conservative multimedia tycoon Grayson Bancroft. On the security cameras, no one was seen entering or leaving the club, which means the culprit had to be an overnight guest. Little love was lost on Bancroft, but the police have their prime suspect: Doug’s father.

Buffy and Winston, formerly disdainful of Kit’s sleuthing, urge her to investigate. With her future in-laws’ freedom and reputations at stake, Kit sets out once again to solve a murder mystery, this time aided by her fiancé Doug in addition to her friends Meg and Trevor and her dog Clarence. Her search for clues will take her from the club to the Smithsonian Museum, the National Archives, and Mount Vernon.

Says Shogan, “The best part about writing this installment of the Washington Whodunit series was visiting all the famous D.C. landmarks in the story. It turns out the study of history is as fraught with peril as politics, as far as Kit Marshall is concerned.”

Colleen J. Shogan is a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is a former Senate staffer who started reading mysteries at the age of six. Previously the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service, Colleen also teaches government at Georgetown University. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

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.

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.

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