Murder with Peacocks

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Category: Contemporary
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Date Published: January 15, 2000
Number of Pages: 311
Print Price: $7.99
eBook Price: $7.99

A Meg Langslow mystery

The first in Donna Andrews' popular "Meg Langslow" series of "cozy" mysteries, Murder with Peacocks won the 1998 St. Martin's "Malice Domestic" award for best first traditional mystery. And it's easy to see why—with its engaging heroine (Meg Langslow, art metalworkeer and Langslow family miracle-worker), a colorful cast of Virginia small town eccentrics, a handsome-and-gentlemanly potential love interest, plus a smattering of domestic murders to baffle the local sherriff's office and elicit the amateur detecting skills of Meg and her father, Donna Andrews has provided all one requires of a charmingly spun "cozy"—all that, and some good laughs, too.

The fun begins as poor Meg, too capable for her own good, is lassoed by her extended clan into managing three large Episcopalian weddings in the space of a few weeks: her best friend's, her brother's, and her mother's—the latter after her mother's inexplicable divorce from Meg's beloved father. Meg gamely takes on the challenge, which is soon complicated by all sorts of goofy pre-connubial trials, from renting molting peacocks for her brother's Renaissance-themed wedding (think "velvet-in-a-sweating-southern-summer"), to handling a dipsomaniac calligrapher, to sussing out a clan-stalking murderer with a penchant for herbal poisons from her father's garden. All while herding recalcitrant bridesmaids to fittings and keeping index cards on wedding presents. Meg's sole source of solace: a growing friendship with the companionable Michael Winslow, a theatre professor in town for the summer to manage his convalescent mother's tailoring business, and who the town grapevine has pegged as—what a waste!—gay.

To be perfectly honest, as a rabid fan of P.D. James and Dorothy Sayers, the mystery-side of this novel is a bit thin; I would have preferred more suspects and fewer narratives of wedding plans gone awry; but this charming little tale accomplishes what every good "cozy" aims to do: it takes the reader out of this sad old world for a fun couple of hours, while providing just enough of a puzzle to keep our "little gray cells", as Hercule Poirot would have it, in reasonably alert condition.

I intend to read the next book in the series, Murder with Puffins, in my garden with a glass of lemonade (or sherry, depending on the time of day) at my elbow.

 

Publisher:
ISBN-13: 978-0312970635
Original Language: English
Book Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches


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Debra Murphy is a writer and the web/print publisher of Idylls Press. A lifelong devotee of classic Catholic novelists such as Flannery O'Connor and Evelyn Waugh, Debra was the founder and original (until 2012) publisher/editor of CatholicFiction.net. Debra has published articles and short stories in a number of online and print venues, including Godspy, Image Journal, Second Spring, This Rock, and Catholic Exchange. She blogs and reviews at Bardolatry.net, SimplyTheGoodStuff.com, and IdyllsPress.com. Debra lives with her husband and six children in southern Oregon.

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