Why I Read It: I love mysteries, and books with good, laugh-out-loud humor. Jen of Magpie Knitter recommended the author, and had it not been that I admire Jen’s own writing style and sense of humor (as evidenced by her posts on Ravelry) I would never have read it after a glance at the cover and the names of the other titles in the Meg Langslow series, because…
First Impression: Birds?!? No offense to any bird lovers out there, but I have a deep dislike and slight fear of birds of all sorts with the exception of hummingbirds. Probably because those are not only beautiful, but also too small to mess up my car or balcony. Not to worry, I wasn’t far into the first book when I heaved a sigh of relief since the heroine doesn’t seem to particularly like birds, she’s just always getting tangled up with them.
Overview: I really enjoyed reading this book, which is actually a reprint of the first two books in the series (Murder with Peacocks and Murder with Puffins). I blew through it in one afternoon and promptly went to the library for the next books, but alas – they somehow skipped a couple in their collection (which meant I had to wait for them to arrive from Amazon). Donna Andrews has a delightfully dry sense of humor, and her main character Meg is sympathetic and interesting. Meg’s family of eccentric and slightly loony but endearing characters adds to the book’s color. In the first book, Meg has allowed herself to be talked into being the maid-of-honor for three weddings within a few weeks of each other. With a Bridezilla, her mother, and best friend all demanding all her spare time and the relative of one of the grooms turning up dead, everyone seems to be falling apart. Her father, who still does all her mother’s yard work despite their being divorced for five years, reads too many mystery novels and insists on trying to catch the killer himself. At least one groom seems to have a serious case of cold feet, and the brides (of course) keep changing their minds on everything.
The mystery element of the series is on the cozy side, despite the murders that occur. Andrews stays away from anything too gritty or stomach-turning. The main characters have brushes with death now and then, but they never feel very serious. Personally, the draw for the rest of the series was the laugh-out-loud aspect of the books, not the suspense or intricate nature of the whodunit, which I didn’t find all that enticing. I also love all the scrapes Meg manages to get into (will she ever learn not to be creeping into dangerous places without anything heavier than a cell phone or flashlight?) and wondering just how she’ll get herself out this time. Andrews seems to have also managed to mostly stay away from stereotypical characters, with a couple exceptions, and her secondary characters are just as amusing and enjoyable as the reappearing ones.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 for light, amusing reading. 🙂
Random Comments: Linking to Donna Andrews’ website here, and to her awards page instead of the home page because there is a rather big spoiler for the first few books right smack on the top! So if you even think you might read these, don’t click on the home button. 😛
Also, I am most disgusted with all three of the local library systems I use, as they somehow manage to have the first two and the last five books of the series, which means I will have to buy the others in order to read them – not something I usually mind, but with the present job situation…whoever heard of having the beginning and end of a series but not the middle?