Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos

Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos

by Donna Andrews

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Every year, Yorktown, Virginia, relives its role in the Revolutionary War by celebrating the anniversary of the British surrender in 1781. This year, plans include a re-enactment of the original battle and a colonial craft fair. Meg Langslow has returned to her home town for the festivities–and to sell her wrought-iron works of art. Except, of course, for the pink-painted flamingos she reluctantly made for her mother’s best friend–she’s hoping to deliver them secretly, so she won’t get a reputation as “the blacksmith who makes those cute wrought-iron flamingos.”

Besides, she has taken on another responsibility–making sure none of her fellow crafters ruin the historical authenticity of the fair with forbidden modern devices–like wrist watches, calculators, or cell phones. She’s only doing it to keep peace with the mother of the man she loves. And Michael himself will don the white-and-gold uniform of a French officer for the re-enactment–what actor could resist a role like that?

Meg’s also trying to keep her father from scaring too many tourists with his impersonation of an 18th century physician. And to prevent a snooping reporter from publishing any stories about local scandals. Not to mention saving her naive brother, Rob, from the clutches of a con man who might steal the computer game he has invented. It’s a tough job–at least, until the swindler is found dead, slain in Meg’s booth with one of her own wrought-iron creations.

Now Meg must add another item to her already lengthy to do list: “Don’t forget to solve the murder!”

Fortunately, the more trouble Meg faces, the more fun the reader will have–and Meg faces plenty of trouble in this lighthearted and funny novel.

Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos is the third book in the Meg Langslow’s mystery series by Donna Andrews. This installment has Meg and Michael participating in the local history fair and reenactment. I am a history nerd and this is definitely the main reason why I enjoy this story. I am fascinated with reenactments and the details about the period costumes were enthralling. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good battle!

The body of a disliked man is discovered in Meg’s metallurgy booth with a knife in his back. He was a well-known scam artist who had his sights set on Rob’s new video game, so Meg is determined to protect Rob and keep him from trouble with the local law. Of course, hilarity ensues. Meg’s Dad is determined to be a murder suspect, the cannons sound through the night, and Meg is stuck keeping the peace between her fellow artisans and Michael’s mother, the tyrant in charge of the event.

I love the characters, the quick pace of the story, and the ‘ah ha!’ reveal at the end of the book. Donna Andrews is my favorite cozy mystery writer. Her stories always make me laugh and are my go-to when I’ve had a rough week. I continue to read them over and over; they are perfect for a trip to the beach! But, Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos offers more than a fun mystery and good laugh. This novel provides more character development, especially in the relationship between Meg and Michael. We see more interaction between the two, learn more about the competition between the two mothers, and delve in to more of Dr. Langslow’s odd hobbies.

Once again this is a quirky cozy mystery. You’ll probably figure out who-dunnit well before the reveal. You will read about some outlandish highjinxs. Do not pick up Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos if you are in need of a serious sophisticated read., but DEFINITELY read it if you’re craving a bit of fun. I promise you will want Meg’s wrought-iron flamingos by the end of the story!

Happy reading!

Lindsay

Six Geese A-Slaying

Here are the reviews of the two Christmas stories I finished last month.  Sorry it took so long to get these to you!  Enjoy!

Six Geese A-Slaying

by Donna Andrews

 Six Geese A-Slaying (Meg Langslow, #10)

Meg and Michael’s house is serving as the marshaling point for the annual Caerphilly Christmas parade. The theme is “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and it features twelve drummers from the school marching band, eleven bagpipers, ten leaping lords costumed in medieval finery from the college drama department, etc. There are also assorted Christmas-themed floats, a live nativity scene on a flatbed truck, the Three Wise Men on Caerphilly zoo camels, and Santa Claus in a bright red horse-drawn sleigh (eight reindeer were beyond the zoo’s scope).  Meg has been volunteered to organize the parade, which is to proceed from her house to the local campus, where Santa will take up residence to hear the Christmas wishes of the town’s children. Of course, getting all the camels, pipers, leapers, and drummers in order is proving every bit as difficult as Meg feared it would be. Then her nephew Eric, wide-eyed and ashen-faced, whispers, “Meg, something’s wrong with Santa.”  The local curmudgeon, whose beard and belly made him a natural for the role, has been murdered. Now Meg and Chief Burke, who is playing one of the wise men, are faced with the two-fold mission of solving the murder and saving Christmas!

Meg is the Mistress of the Revels, the woman in charge of the Caerphilly Holiday Parade.  This means that she is responsible for wrangling the town, and most of her family, in order to deliver the perfect parade.  All is surprisingly working out until Santa Claus, played by the rather unsavory Mr. Doleson, is murdered in the pig barn.  Meg’s farm is now a crime scene.  To make matters worse, it turns out that that Mr. Doleson has been blackmailing most of the town.  Everyone in the parade is a suspect, so Meg does her own snooping while keeping a big city reporter at bay.  It’s just a typical Caerphilly Christmas!

I always enjoy Andrews’ cozy-mysteries.  The curious and brutally honest Meg is a kindred spirit!  Just remember, these are cozy-mysteries, so don’t worry about how many murders occur on Meg’s farm over the series; just go with it!

Six Geese A-Slaying is the tenth book in the series and was just not as funny as I had expected.  The first novel in the series, Murder with Peacocks, had me crying I was laughing so hard.  This installment was good but I didn’t laugh until I peed myself.  Instead, I giggled some, smiled, and enjoyed a pleasant chapter or two each night.  The writing felt a tad rushed and the novel had a difficult time holding my attention with all the holiday craziness happening around me.  Also, the e-book version that I read had numerous continuity errors when it came to spelling, but I am sure this is not an issue for the printed copy.

I love the cast of characters, and that folks, is the reason why I keep coming back to this series.  The characters are wonderful and I feel like I am meeting up with old friends each time I read one of these books.  I adore Meg’s crazy family and her sweet husband.  My favorites are Meg’s dad and stubborn Meg!  These characters are real, funny, and just sincere through the entire series.  Here is one of my favorite excerpts (so much funnier in context):

 

“I was still standing on the back porch, adjusting to the cold and looking around for Clarence, when I heard Michael’s voice.

“This is Ernest,” Michael was saying.  “Our first llama.”

First llama?  I’d been referring to him as ‘the’ llama.”

This was the perfect Christmas cozy-mystery.  I enjoyed the description of the parade preparations and what could be better than the police chief riding a camel, Santa on a motorcycle, and 36 geese a-laying?  Are you a fan of Donna Andrews?  Which book is your favorite?

Lindsay