Author Guest Post
Perfect Setting for a Murder
When I was starting to create the plot of Lethal Legacies, I knew that I wanted history to play a major role. In the book, my protagonist and amateur sleuth, Kit Marshall, is part of a team responsible for organizing a citywide celebration of American history. Consequently, throughout the story, I feature historical facts, figures, artifacts, and treasures.
The Lincoln catafalque is a key component concerning the crime in Lethal Legacies. Many readers may not know about the catafalque, although there’s a good chance you may have seen it on television or in a newspaper. The catafalque is platform built in 1865 to support the casket of Abraham Lincoln. The structure supported Lincoln’s body while he lay in state inside the United States Capitol rotunda. A black drapery cloth covers the platform. The cloth has been replaced several times since 1865, but it remains the same style that was used originally during Abraham Lincoln’s funeral.
The Commissioner of Public Buildings at the time, Benjamin French, built the Lincoln catafalque. French’s son created the plan for the catafalque and French’s wife sewed the black cloth covering. The platform was seven feet long, and it rested on an eight and half foot base to support the coffin.
After a brief private ceremony at the Capitol, the public was allowed to enter to pay their respects. Approximately 40,000 people viewed Lincoln’s open coffin over the course of the next twenty-four hours. Lincoln’s body left the Capitol on April 21, 1865 and traveled to Springfield, Illinois for internment.
The catafalque has been used since Lincoln’s death for several government lying in state services. A concurrent resolution, passed by both houses of Congress, is required for a lying in state ceremony inside the Capitol. Those who resided on the Lincoln catafalque in state include Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John McCain, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon Johnson.
For many years, the Lincoln catafalque was kept inside a gated, basement tomb of the United States Capitol, two floors under the rotunda. Congress originally believed George and Martha Washington’s tombs would rest in this spot. However, George Washington specifically requested his internment at Mount Vernon. This space remained empty in the Capitol until it housed the Lincoln catafalque after 1865. Currently, the Lincoln catafalque is on display for the public inside the exhibit space of the United States Capitol Visitors Center.
How does the catafalque play an integral part in Lethal Legacies? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
About Lethal Legacies
Lethal Legacies (A Washington Whodunit)
8th in Series
Camel Press (August 9, 2022)
Paperback : 236 pages
ISBN-10 : 1684920302
ISBN-13 : 978-1684920303
Digital ASIN : B09VMPZCC4
It’s springtime in Washington, D.C. and congressional staffer Kit Marshall has more on her plate than she can handle. With her boss campaigning for an open U.S. Senate seat, Kit is left to run the office in her absence and manage a new week long American history extravaganza filled with high-profile events, lectures, and receptions.
When the Director of the Capitol Visitor’s Center ends up dead, Kit springs into action to clear a longtime friend, who becomes the prime suspect in the murder. With her best pal Meg pressuring her to solve the mystery quickly, Kit must figure out how to navigate her closest relationships while keeping an eye out for the diabolical killer.
The investigation takes Kit across the city to famous locations, including Georgetown University, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the White House.
When the killer strikes a second time, the pressure to solve the crimes intensifies. Has our favorite Capitol Hill sleuth finally met her match? In the end, Kit learns the hard way that history tends to repeat itself, often with deadly consequences.
About Colleen J. Shogan
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. “Larceny at the Library” won the 2021 IPPY bronze medal for mystery. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/washingtonwhodunit/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/cshogan276
Website – www.colleenshogan.com
GoodReads – www.goodreads.com/cshogan276
Praise for the Series
“The mystery is perplexing—for Kit and company, and for me—and well done. I was impressed by the complexity of the murder plot. I enjoyed the political theme, and all the details about lobbyists.” —Jane Reads
“To someone who has mastered that uniquely Washington skill of bobbling two cell phones and a glass of wine without spilling a drop, solving a murder is practically child’s play.” —HillRag
“A solid choice for political junkies and readers of Maggie Sefton, Fred Hunter, and Mike Lawson.” —Library Journal
“The fourth volume in author Colleen J. Shogan’s simply outstanding ‘Washington Whodunit’ series, K Street Killing is a consistently entertaining read with many an unexpected twist and turn by a true master of the genre.” —Midwest Book Review
“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
“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
“An excellent whodunit…. I was really impressed with this very smart story. The author is a former Senate staffer so she is writing what she knows, less the murder, I hope.” —Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book
“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
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