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Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is excited to attend a historic event displaying the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets the night he was assassinated at the Library of Congress. The next day, a senior librarian is dead and several invaluable artifacts are missing. Kit’s husband Doug discovers the body and immediately becomes a suspect in the death and theft. Kit springs into action once again to figure out who is responsible for the crimes. Her sleuthing takes her to the DC Public Library, the National Portrait Gallery, Ford’s Theatre, and the most ornate, beautiful rooms at the Library of Congress. At the end, Kit must put her own life on the line to retrieve her most valuable possession, which goes unexpectedly missing as she hunts down the killer.
When I began work at the Library of Congress in April 2008, I thought my tenure might last two or three years. I needed management experience, and once I had it, I figured I would return to a senior staff position in the Senate.
I ended up staying at the Library of Congress for almost twelve years. I held six different jobs during this time and worked with a wide range of programs, including the National Book Festival, the National Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, the Congressional Research Service, and the Kluge Center for Scholars. No day was the same, and I always learned something new.
I had always wanted to set a murder mystery at the Library of Congress, and I’m very excited that I finally get to tell such an entertaining story with “Larceny at the Library.” Besides enjoying the fun mystery, I hope readers get a glimpse about the place where I worked for over a decade.
As I explain in the preface of the book, it’s easy to get excited about the impressive collections housed at the Library of Congress. One of my favorites is the draft of the Declaration of Independence – in Jefferson’s handwriting with edits from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin!
However, by far, the best resource at the Library of Congress is its talented staff. The Library employs over three thousand people, many of whom are experts in a specialized field of study. They are trained to select the books and other materials that comprise the collection. They are also experts in helping others interpret and use those resources in the best way possible.
Although the Library of Congress employs a lot of librarians, not everyone is a librarian who works there. I am a political scientist and came to work there as part of the Congressional Research Service, which provides non-partisan, objective research for all Members of Congress and their staffs. Other divisions of the Library employ linguists, engineers, IT specialists, historians, writers, curators, and a host of other professionals. Because the Library of Congress is the world’s largest repository of knowledge in human history, it’s a big tent. All are welcome to use its resources and the staff represent a wide range of disciplines and skills.
If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., I highly recommend spending several hours at the Library of Congress. Public tours are given every day and it takes only fifteen minutes to register for a Reader’s card. If you can’t visit the Library of Congress in person, check out the amazing repository of online resources available to anyone in the world. After all, the Library of Congress is YOUR library, too!
About the Author
Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at several universities and previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is currently the Senior Vice President of the White House Historical Association.
Colleen is a member of Sisters in Crime. “Stabbing in the Senate” was awarded the Next Generation Indie prize for Best Mystery in 2016. “Homicide in the House” was a 2017 finalist for the RONE Award for Best Mystery. “Calamity at the Continental Club” was a 2018 finalist in the “best cozy mystery” at Killer Nashville. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.
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