Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Book Review: Toucan Keep a Secret by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #23)


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters and a solid mystery
Cons: A couple of terms needlessly incorporated into the mystery
The Bottom Line:
Body in the crypt
Brings up mystery from past
Overall, it's fun




It's No Secret - I Think You'll Enjoy This Book

August was filled by so many books by authors I love that I'm still trying to read them all.  Believe me, if I had time, I would have snuck in Toucan Keep a Secret in August since I've enjoyed Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow books for years.

As the book opens, Meg is taking a turn locking up the Episcopal Church in town.  She's part of the brigade helping out since Reverend Robyn Smith is out on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.  Meg just about has everything taken care of when she hears a pounding coming from the columbarium.  When she goes to investigate, she finds several of the crypts have been opened, and the dead body of Junius Hagley on the ground.  Mr. Hagley was a grouchy old man who Meg and her mother secretly call one of the Muttering Misogynists, but Meg didn't wish him dead.  What has Meg stumbled into now?

Let's start with my biggest complaint, and something that you can probably guess based on my plot description above.  I really could have done without the name calling by Meg in this book.  Fortunately, it tapers off by the time we've hit a third of the way through the book, but every time that Meg used misogynist to describe the victim, I rolled my eyes.  She even accuses him of mansplaining at one point, another term that bothers me.  What's worse is that it is clear early on that this aspect of the character doesn't play a large part in the mystery at hand.  In fact, he could have been the nicest person around and I don't think the plot would have changed at all.  So I felt like this part of the book was purely there to lecture us and made Mr. Hagley a caricature.  Considering we never met him alive, that just makes him less human.

Which is a shame because the mystery itself is wonderful.  It is fairly clear early on that the modern mystery has ties to something that happened in the past, and I enjoyed seeing how it all tied together.  I really didn't know who was behind the modern mystery or what had happened in the past until Meg pieced it together at the end.

Those who know the series know that Meg is surrounded by a large group of family members.  While a couple of the regulars aren’t around for this book, the rest put in their usual appearances.  Of course, the main focus is on the mystery, which gives us a chance to meet a large group of colorful new characters, and I enjoyed them all immensely.

And yes, there are some moments that made me laugh out loud as I was reading.  I wasn't laughing the entire way through, but a few scenes really are laugh inducing in a good way, and I truly enjoyed them.

So, there really is much to recommend about Toucan Keep a Secret.  Fans of light mysteries will be delighted with the latest entry in this long running series.

If you need more light mysteries, check out the rest of the Meg Langslow series.

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