Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Family and community; tons of fun
Cons: Story a little weaker than it could be
The Bottom Line:
And a hunt for a rare gull
Make page turning fun
Meg Works to Catch a Crafty Killer
Meg Langslow, the star of Donna Andrews’s delightful mystery series, is a blacksmith. You may not know this because many of her cases seem to involve festivals and other activities that she’s been roped in to helping organize and take her away from this profession. But it is because of blacksmithing that she is involved in the mayhem of Gone Gull.
Well, blacksmithing and family. You see, her grandmother, Cordelia, is opening up a craft retreat on some old family land. Meg has signed up to teach blacksmithing classes all summer, and various family members are also helping out with their expertise, including her grandfather, who is helping teach a nature photography class.
This is the first summer the center has been open, and the first week has some unexpected hitches. Someone is attempting to sabotage the center, leaving windows open in the rain, breaking things, throwing paint on canvases. There are suspicions as to who is behind it, but no proof yet.
However, things take a huge turn when Meg discovers the body of a fellow instructor one morning early in the second week. Has the saboteur turned to murder? Or, since no one liked this instructor, could it be unrelated to the sabotage that has been going on?
Wondering about the title? There is a sub-plot involving Meg’s grandfather, a world-famous naturalist and conservationist, trying to track down an incredibly rare gull. It adds quite a bit of humor to the proceedings as does his interactions with Cordelia. Personally, I found this funnier than some of the antics of the crafters.
The antics of the characters can often overshadow the mystery. If you look back at older books, you’ll see this is the case as well. I’m afraid it did here again as well. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are twists and suspects. However, Meg doesn’t seem to uncover as much as she has in books past, and I found the climax a bit weaker than it could have been. Suspenseful and creative, but weaker in other ways.
But this isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy every page. There’s a reason that this series is still going strong after 20 books in the series. The books are full of fun and characters we love. Since this book is set outside of Meg’s hometown, we don’t see all of the series regulars, but that’s okay because the new characters we get to meet here are more than up for filling in any holes. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of them again. The returning characters that are here are a delight as always. Time with them is never wrong.
But I had a revelation while reading this series. Yes, I enjoy the mysteries and the humor, but I have also fallen in love with the family community that Donna Andrews has created in these books. This was really driven home to me late in the book when the characters face a crisis (no spoilers, don’t worry), and they figure out a way to support each other despite what is going on. No, it wasn’t sappy, but I really enjoyed seeing it.
So fans of Donna Andrews and her character Meg Langslow will find much to enjoy here. Pick up Gone Gull today and be swept up in another entertaining tale.
Enjoy the rest of the Meg Langslow Mysteries series.