Homicide in the House

by Colleen J. Shogan

4.5 Stars

Publisher: Kit Marshall has bounced back from her first brush with the law, when she was suspected of murdering her senator boss. Now she is working for a freshman congresswoman, Maeve Dixon, a young Gulf War veteran representing North Carolina. It’s February, and Kit is feeling out of sorts. A government shutdown has just been announced, wreaking havoc on the Hill, and Dan, Dixon’s chief of staff and Kit’s supervisor, is an inexperienced lightweight flying blind. Then there’s Kit’s distracted live-in boyfriend, Doug, who doesn’t seem any closer to popping the question. Kit’s best friend Meg is up to her eyeballs with her new beau and oversight committee job, and Clarence the beagle mix will certainly not win Capitol Canine if Meg has to campaign for him all by herself. Bad as things are now, they are about to get much worse. Early one morning Representative Dixon is caught standing over the corpse of Jack Drysdale, the Speaker of the House’s top staffer, a man she argued with in front of the press the day before. The murder weapon was the Speaker’s gavel. This item was entrusted to Dixon at the time, leading the police to believe they’ve found their killer. To save her job, Kit must clear her boss’s name, and quickly. Dixon’s career may be over if the police declare her a suspect or an anonymous blogger known as Hill Rat breaks the story. Solving this murder will test Kit’s courage and all her fledgling powers of deduction as she roams a spooky, sparsely populated Capitol Hill looking for clues and sounding out suspects. Book 2 of the Washington Whodunit series, which began with Stabbing in the Senate.

My Review: Homicide in the House is the second book in the Washington Whodunit series by Colleen Shogan. I did not read the first one, [book:Stabbing in the Senate|25775813], but I had not problem with the story. The protagonist, Kit Marshall, works for a freshman congresswoman, Maeve Dixon, a young Gulf War veteran representing North Carolina. Her immediate boss, chief of staff Dan is incompetent and clueless. This leaves Kit running point for the office and privy to the comings and goings. The government has shut down and the government is trying to come up with a solution, staffing is limited and the pressure is on. When Maeve Dixon does not immediately agree with the Speaker of the House’s solution, she is involved in a rather public argument with his chief of staff Jack Drysdale. The next day Representative Dixon is found standing over the dead body of Jack Drysdale. The Speaker’s gavel, recently handled by Maeve Dixon, was identified as the murder weapon. Dixon is the main suspect due to the fact that she found the body, had last handled the murder weapon and had been witnessed in the heated argument with Drysdale. To keep her job, as well as believing that Maeve is innocent, Kit seeks to clear her of wrongdoing. Can Kit find the evidence to clear her boss of this murder? While all this is going on, “Hill Rat” an anonlymous blogger who had too much inside information about Capital Hill, quickly publishes the news that Maeve Dixon is the prime suspect in the murder.

The other characters in the story add a lot to the plot and entertainment of the book. Meg, her best friend, assisted in solving the last murder that Kit was actually suspected of, and she is able to give her some information about Drysdale and his office that Kit investigates. We learn about Kit and her flirty personality as well as a little about her personal life. Kit’s boyfriend, Doug, also gives her a hand although reluctantly. He is a college professor who is rather staid, but is a good influence on Kit. The most entertaining of characters is Clarence, the mixed breed beagle belonging to Kit and Doug. Not only does he win the “Capitol Canine” contest, but he wreaks havoc at the ceremony and eventually helps solve the case. The plot was tightly woven with numerous twists and turns that leave the reader guessing while turning pages to find out what happens next.

I loved the descriptions of the Capitol and government buildings. It was like you were actually there seeing them. The descriptions of the running of government, meetings, trade-offs, and various job descriptions gave this book a true to life feel as well as teaching a few things along the way. Everything that was done in the story was totally believable. Her knowledge of the congress shines. She has done her research, turned her talent into a great book set in Washington, D.C. This book is fast-paced, well-written, fun to read, and has an unanticipated murderer. The plot was tightly woven with numerous twists and turns that leave the reader guessing. I highly recommend this book for cozy mystery readers as well as those who appreciate political intrigue.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.