Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: The Penguin Who Knew Too Much by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #8)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Lots of laughs
Cons: Weak ending
The Bottom Line:
Not the series best
But still plenty of fun laughs
For fans new and old

A Complete Zoo of Fun

Through seven previous books, we've laughed along with Meg Langslow as she's solved some sticky mysteries. And the laughs are still plentiful in The Penguin Who Knew Too Much.

Meg and her fiancee Michael are finally moving into their new house. All of Meg's relatives are coming to help get the furniture out of storage. And in the middle of the house warming party to follow, Meg and Michael plan to slip away to elope.

The work is just beginning when Meg's dad appears, announces with glee he found a body in the basement while digging a swimming pit for the penguins, and disappears again.

Dead body? Penguins? Unfortunately, both prove to be true.

The penguins are refugees from the local zoo which has closed temporarily due to poor financial management. And they are just the beginning of the animals that begin to show up since Meg's dad has volunteered to take care of any animals that need to be watched. Suddenly, Meg is dealing with llamas, hyenas, and sloths, among others.

Even worse, the body turns out to be the zoo's owner. Now Meg has a few days to find the killer and solve her sudden animal problem or risk watching her carefully planned elopement fall apart. Can she do it?

The books in this series are always funny, and this book is no exception. The laughs start on page one, and I chuckled and laugh the entire way through. Of course, there are the antics of the animals. And watching Meg's dog Spike deal with all these invaders to his turf is funny as well.

That's not to say that the human characters take back stage to the animals. Meg's family is as wacky as always. In fact, some of them seem to be in rare form here. Even Michael loosens up and adds to the humor instead of being his normal support character. And there are some great new characters that add to the fun. My favorite of these is the new county corner who is claustrophobic. Every time he was around, I was laughing so hard.

As always, this book is well written. Meg's narration only adds to the fun. Everything flows so well, you'll be done before you know it.

And yes, there is a mystery. In fact, it starts on page one as well. At times, it takes a back seat to the humor, but never for very long. Unfortunately, the ending was weak. That's one of my big pet peeves when it comes to a mystery, so it bothered me. And I expect better from author Donna Andrews because she has proved she can do better.

Even if the ending is weak, the book is still well worth reading. Meg's many fans will laugh the entire way through her latest adventure. The Penguin Who Knew Too Much is another winner from the queen of the humorous cozy.

And if you are looking for more laughs, check out the rest of the Meg Langslow Mysteries in order.

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