United States Senator Lyndon Langsford stared at the typewritten memo. His eyes peeked above fashionable reading glasses to meet my gaze. The placid expression on his aging face kept me in the dark concerning his thoughts about the missive. Was he displeased? Confused? Annoyed? Or even worse, was he completely indifferent?
No need to summon my inner Nancy Drew. My boss, a New England Democrat with a recent penchant for making political trouble, wouldn’t remain a mystery for too long. Like most politicians, he was incapable of remaining silent for any appreciable length of time.
He pointed at the document resting on his lap. “Kit, are you recommending I should support the termination of the Carter Power contract in the Appropriations Committee?” Langsford preferred not to mince words.
I gulped nervously. “Yes, sir. The United States can procure batteries for the military from a cheaper defense supplier. The potential cost savings could be hundreds of millions.”
Langsford remained silent. He shifted in his stately office armchair, a view of the Capitol framing the lush summer landscape behind him. After removing his spectacles, he rubbed his tired eyes and sighed.
Uh oh. I’d pushed it too far this time. My boss frequently entertained my wacky ideas, and his newfound inclination for raising hell within the world’s most renowned deliberative body meshed nicely with my unconventional thinking.
But asking Langsford to vote against the interests of Carter Power, who just happened to be represented by his closest colleague in the Senate, had hit him in the proverbial political gut. Even Lyndon Langsford’s appetite for political controversy had its limits.
Why had I listened to my best friend and office mate Meg? She’d convinced me to write this revolutionary memo, arguing to Langsford he should take a principled stand and eliminate wasteful defense spending. Easy for Meg to push me down the primrose path – she wasn’t sitting in the hot seat now. Now I’d drastically overplayed my hand. My wonky prose hadn’t persuaded Lyndon Langsford to overthrow the Pentagon. No big surprise. I was a competent, reliable Senate staffer, not a modern day Thomas Jefferson.
I braced myself for the inevitable tongue-lashing. I could practically hear the Senator’s booming voice in my head. Why are you wasting my time with this nonsense? Don’t you know the first rule of politics? You scratch my back, and I scratch your back. Are you asking me to commit political suicide by throwing my best pal under the bus?
But I was dead wrong. Instead of telling me to peddle my crazy ideas elsewhere, a mischievous smile spread slowly across my boss’s face.
“I’ve been angling for another political fight, and taking on the Defense Department is about as big as it gets. Are you up for this, Kit? Because if we pursue what you recommend, I’m going to create a number of enemies in this town, and they’ll be out for blood.”
If I’d taken Senator Langsford’s words at face value rather than chalking them up to his flair for the dramatic, I would have grabbed the memo from his hands, torn it up, and told him to forget I’d ever suggested such a crazy scheme. But I didn’t tell him to back down. I nodded solemnly in support, with absolutely no awareness of the murderous series of events that would soon unfold only a few feet from where we sat on that sunny afternoon in our nation’s capital.
You can read more about Kit in Stabbing in the Senate, the first book in the NEW “Washington Whodunit” mystery series published by Camel Press.
About Stabbing in the Senate
Life is good for Kit Marshall. She’s a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.
Circumstances back Kit’s claim of innocence, but her photograph has gone viral, and the heat won’t be off until the killer is found. Well-loved though the senator was, suspects abound. Langsford had begun to vote with his conscience, which meant he was often at odds with his party. Not only had the senator decided to quash the ambitions of a major military contractor, but his likely successor is a congressman he trounced in the last election. Then there’s the suspiciously dry-eyed Widow Langsford.
Kit’s tabloid infamy horrifies her boyfriend’s upper-crust family, and it could destroy her career. However, she and her free-spirited friend Meg have a more pressing reason to play sleuth. The police are clueless in more ways than one, and Kit worries that the next task on the killer’s agenda will be to end her life.
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Meet the Author
Colleen J. Shogan is the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She previously worked in the United States Senate. A political scientist by training, Colleen also teaches at Georgetown as an adjunct professor of Government. Stabbing in the Senate is her first novel. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob Raffety and beagle mix rescue mutt Conan. Connect with Colleen on her website – www.colleenshogan.com, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or Amazon.