Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Larceny at the Library by Colleen Shogan | Blog Tour with Guest Post and Giveaway

Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

About Larceny at the Library

Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (July 14, 2020)
Print Length: 202 pages
ISBN-13: 9781603818353
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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.

About the Guest Post

When many people think of the Library of Congress, the setting for the latest book in my “Washington Whodunit” mystery series, they think of beautiful, ornate spaces with rows of dusty, leather-bound books. Others might think of the popular National Book Festival or even the National Film Registry.

However, beyond a gorgeous Washington, D.C. building and cherished images of an old library reside the actual Library of Congress collections. It is almost unfathomable to comprehend, but the Library of Congress has over 170 million items in its collection, making it the largest library in the world.  The Library of Congress also circulated over 21 million items in its audiobooks and Braille collection to the blind and print disabled

Every day, the Library of Congress receives 15,000 items for consideration and adds about 10,000 items to its collections. Many of these items come from mandatory deposit, courtesy of the United States Copyright Office, which is a division of the Library of Congress. Items not placed in the official collection are donated through a popular congressional surplus book program. Those materials end up in local libraries, senior facilities, and veterans’ homes across the United States.

The “special collections” at the Library of Congress are really the crown jewels of the operation. That includes prints and photographs, manuscripts, rare books, maps, and music.

There is no way I could possibly chronicle or describe the breadth and depth of the special collections at the Library of Congress. However, I can tell you about a select number of my favorite items.

I love the picture of Harriet Tubman acquired jointly by the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution. Taken in 1868, it shows Tubman in her mid-forties, similar to how she might have appeared when conducting her daring rescues via the Underground Railroad. We typically remember Tubman as an older woman, but this photograph shows Harriet as we might want to remember her – as a tireless supporter for the rights of African Americans and women.

In 2015, I was lucky enough to see a copy of Lincoln’s handwritten Second Inaugural Address on display at the Library of Congress. The fragile conditions of the manuscript prohibit its frequent exhibition. President Barack Obama came to see the address early on a Sunday morning, along with both of his daughters. 

I’ve read several books about the life of Benjamin Franklin, so it’s no surprise that a 1758 copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac is worth mentioning. Thomas Jefferson famously sold his book collection to the federal government after the British burning of the United States Capitol in 1814. After a fire in 1851, many of Jefferson’s original books were destroyed. His library has been reconstructed and resides inside the Jefferson Building. 

A final collection I will mention is the Sanborn maps, drawn for fire insurance. The maps are from the late 1800s and early 1900s and cover most of the United States. Perhaps less famous than the other collections I mentioned, the Sanborn maps are frequently used by historians and writers of historical fiction. They provide accurate street-by-street maps of all cities, towns, counties, and municipalities across the United States during that time period. Take a look at the collection to see if you can find your hometown; I found mine!

These days, many of us are “stuck” at home due to public health threats related to the coronavirus. Yes, it’s fun to watch Netflix and of course, read good books. However, the Library of Congress and its extensive digital collections can provide hours of learning and entertainment. After all, the Library of Congress is YOUR library.

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. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

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