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Kalorama Shakedown

This is the third novel in the Harry Reese Mystery series, and it was with this book that I felt I’d hit my stride. It’s more farcical than the earlier novels and the writing came more easily. That’s not to say there weren’t multiple drafts and revisions, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process and was very pleased with the results.  

Emmie’s school chum Elizabeth again plays an important part in this book, but she’s soon eclipsed
by the even more impressive Countess von Schnurrenberger und Kesselheim, a young British woman who not long before was a notorious jewel thief. She and Emmie get into a sort of contest, with Emmie getting the upper hand by book’s end.

There are a number of scenes I feel came out especially well, such as Harry’s interview with the lobbyist Easterly, who explains that “The average first-term congressman arrives as an ego with shoes and a hat.” Also, the conversation with Samuel Chappelle, an African-American who runs a numbers operation and offers a précis of the current state of his people’s condition. Then there’s the recurring motif of newspaper reporters trying to leave Harry with the bar tab, and most of all the scene where Emmie uses the cliché “Take a message to Garcia” as a euphemism for going off to use the toilet.

The two murders are somewhat tangential to the general goings-on, but that’s true of all my books and has become something of a hallmark. And Harry is only partially involved in solving them. As in all the books, he isn’t so much an actor as an amused observer.

This is my favorite book in the series. Not only did I have fun writing it, but I can pick it up, flip through the pages and come upon bits I find amusing, not just sentences I wish I had worded less clumsily.

There’s more on Kalorama Shakedown, including its availability, at the Harry Reese Mysteries site.

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