Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review: Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Better mystery still served with lots of laughs
Cons: A little slow at the beginning
The Bottom Line:
Bird watchers, a storm
No romantic getaway
But we get the laughs

Hurricanes, Puffins, and Murder

For Murder with Puffins, the second book in the Meg Langslow series, Meg heads off to Maine with her boyfriend Michael. The two have been overwhelmed by family and friends and just want some time alone. When Meg remembers the family cabin on the island of Monhegan just off the coast, she thinks she's found the perfect solution. Unfortunately, the rest of her family also decided that this was the perfect weekend for some rest and relaxation. Further cooling the romance, the island has been inundated with a bunch of birders who came to watch the puffins. And Hurricane Gladys has decided to visit the area, stranding everyone on the island for the next few days.

As if the weekend needed any further complications, a local celebrity is found murdered near his home on the island. He may have been well known, but he wasn't well liked. The list of enemies includes just about everyone on the island. The police zero in on Meg's dad as their chief suspect, however. Meg knows her dad couldn't have done it, so she sets out searching the rain soaked island looking for clues. Can she solve the crime before the ferry resumes service after the storm?

The first book in the series was greeted with loads of praise and won several awards. This book was greeted less enthusiastically. I actually feel just the opposite about the two. I felt the mystery in the first was rather lame and played second fiddle to the antics of the large cast of characters. I felt the problems were addressed with this one.

Granted, the plot does still start out slowly, giving us time to get to know the players and set up the situation. But once the body is found, things start moving very quickly. There are several plot twists along the way to the satisfying conclusion.

Now that's not to say that the humor suffers. While it's not quite as prominent as in the first, there are still plenty of absurd situations and quips to laugh at here. And Meg's first person narration adds to the laughs as we get her droll observations on the events.

The main characters are alive and interesting as well. Meg's family may be eccentric, but they aren't caricatures. The main suspects in the mystery are also well drawn. The majority of the bird watchers play the part of extras. They can come across as shallow, but they play such a minor part that it's a minor issue.

Anyone looking for a fun, light-hearted mystery need look no further then Murder with Puffins. A visit with Meg and her family also means laughs and intrigue.

And if you are looking for more fun, here are the Meg Langslow Mysteries in order.

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