Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Review: No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #7)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters you like spending time with; twists in the mystery
Cons: Not as funny as the previous entries.
The Bottom Line:
Not as comedic
Mystery, characters still strong
So well worth your time

Still Enjoyable, but the Last Couple Were Better

No Nest for the Wicket is the seventh in the Meg Langslow series. Meg is a blacksmith and lives with her fiance Michael in the small college town of Caerphilly, Virginia. This series is known for its wacky characters, funny situations, and great plots.

This particular book introduces the reader to the new sport of eXtreme croquet. This is not the genteel game played on lawns over tea. Instead, the course is set up on large fields with such obstacles as streams, bogs, and even live animals adding to the fun.

Meg's family is hosting an eXtreme croquet tournament near Meg's house, and Meg has gotten roped into playing. Not that she hates it, but the sport is a little wild for her tastes.

After an opponent hits Meg's ball off course into a gully, Meg finds a dead body. While the woman had obviously been hit over the head by a croquet mallet, she wasn't playing in the tournament. In fact, Meg and the other contestants have no idea who she is.

It's Michael who makes the identification. The victim used to be a professor at the local college and had made quite a few enemies in town. What was she doing back in the area? And who knew about it and wanted to kill her?

Meanwhile, Meg has made a startling discovery. One of her new neighbors is looking to sell his land to a developer who plans to use it to build the biggest outlet mall in the state. Meg and Michael bought their house to enjoy the peace and quiet of the country. They intend to fight this dreadful news, even if it means aligning with the overbearing Mrs. Wentworth, the head of the local historical society.

Over the last few years, this series has become one of my favorites because of the laugh out loud humor and twisty plots. Unfortunately, this entry doesn't live up to the last couple. Mainly, it was because the book wasn't as funny as it could have been. Much of the humor has been done before and better in the earlier books. Not that this book isn't enjoyable. I still found myself laughing and smiling, just not as much as previously. The narration is as light and enjoyable as always. It just can't overcome the been there done that feeling.

Fortunately, the plot is very engaging. There are several twists and plenty of red herrings before the final solution is revealed. I did feel the climax was a bit abrupt, but it was logical.

The returning characters are their usual charming selves. It's always a pleasure to spend time with Meg and her family even if murder is the result. The new characters are interesting as well. They could have used a little more development, but I could easily keep everyone straight.

While not up to the usual standards for this series, No Nest for the Wicket is still a book well worth reading. It's a fast moving mystery that will keep you entertained from start to finish.

And once you are hooked, you'll want to read the rest of the Meg Langslow Mysteries in order.

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