larceny at the library
Larceny at the Library
Colleen J. Shogan
Camel Press
May 2020
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Larceny at the Library
by Collen J. Shogan
Reviewed by Joy Gorence

Set in the blustery month of February, Collen J. Shogan has created a mystery of surprising twists and turns among the passageways of the Library of Congress in Larceny at the Library.

Inside the halls of the Library of Congress, Kit Marshall finds herself involved in uncovering who murdered the Assistant Librarian, Gustav Gaffney. Because Kit’s husband, Doug Hollingsworth, reports finding the body, Sergeant O’Halloran regards him as a primary suspect.  Doug, as “the head of the scholarly center at the Library of Congress,” is also one of the last people to have seen Gustav alive.  In addition to the murder, recently unveiled artifacts from the pockets of Abraham Lincoln have been stolen from Gustav’s safe.

Miriam Dunlap, the Librarian of Congress, requests that Kit take an active involvement in finding the murderer. Ms. Dunlap knows that Kit as an amateur sleuth has “had much success in assisting the police previously with homicide cases.” Since the Assistant Librarian was a personal friend and the artifacts historically significant, Miriam wants the case solved quickly.  Although Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, Kit’s boss and “chair of the oversight committee,” which includes the Library of Congress, is surprised at the request, she gives her permission to let Kit, her chief of staff, work with local authorities.

Early in the plot, Kit agrees to meet her brother, Sebastian at the Neptune, in front of the Thomas Jefferson Building. With concise diction, Ms. Shogan begins providing architectural descriptions of the important backdrops to the plot.

As the reader follows Kit around Washington, D.C. and its outskirts, one cannot help but marvel at the significant role the setting plays in this murder mystery. With attention to detail, Ms. Shogan provides precise portrayals of some of the most prestigious and historic edifices in Washington.

As Kit elicits the aid of her friends, the inner workings of the Washington’s political machine propel the plot towards its conclusion.  With a cast of colorful characters, none of the suspects has a solid alibi for the time of the murder. Despite the challenges Kit faces, she prevails.

Ms. Shogan provides an accurate and edifying description of the Library of Congress within the pages of Larceny at the Library while providing the reader with a captivating tale.

Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville.  She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader.  Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill, and their two pampered kitties.