Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review: Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Laughs and murder
Cons: Too busy laughing to come up with a con
The Bottom Line:
A reenactment
Sets the stage for new murder
Laughs and twists abound

And You Thought the Original Battle of Yorktown was Hard

As you might guess from the title, Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos, this is a fun, lighthearted mystery. It's the third in the Meg Langslow series and the first to make more then a passing reference to her profession.

Meg is a blacksmith and she's participating in a period craft fair as part of the annual reenactment of the Battle of Yorktown, which decided the American Revolution in our favor. Her boyfriend, Michael, is also there, but he's playing one of the soldiers in the reenactment. Michael's mother is in charge of keeping everything authentic, and Meg volunteers to kept an eye on her fellow craftspeople to get on Mrs. Waterston's good side. But being the go between just might be more then Meg can handle. Especially since her boyfriend's mother is cracking down on anything and everything. Meanwhile, Michael wants more from their relationship, and Meg is shying away from any form of commitment.

But it's her brother Rob that really brings trouble to the festivities. Someone is interested in buying his computer game, and Rob has set up the meeting for that weekend. But Roger Benson has a shady reputation at best, and when this computer guy turns up murdered in Meg's booth, the list of suspects is long. Not that she needs any more to do this weekend, but now Meg must solve this crime before the police arrest one of her friends.

As with the others is the series, this book has quite a bit going on beside the mystery. That keeps the mystery from being the focus at the beginning, but there is so much going on to keep you engaged you really don't care. When the mystery does get started, it pushes the sub-plots back to their rightful places. It provides some great twists and turns and a thrilling climax.

The humor comes from the characters. There's Meg's father, who insists his air tight alibi is full of holes. And I can't leave out Cousin Horace who wears his ever present gorilla costume in the middle of the battle. Even the over the top characters are very well defined. Obviously, we know the series regulars well, but the new characters are just as real and engaging.

Everything is held together by the wonderful writing. It's easy to read, and Meg's first person narration adds just the right sense of fun to the absurd happenings of the book.

There are lots of balls in the air here. While I enjoyed the first two books, this is the first in the series where I believe author Donna Andrews got it absolutely right. The comic and mysterious are perfectly blended for a great read.

If you are looking for a light read that will keep you guessing while making you laugh, you've come to the right place. While it is obviously best to read the series in order, you won't miss much if you jump in with Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos.

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

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