Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great plot, lots of laughs
Cons: Some editing issues (some of which might have been me)
The Bottom Line:
Leads to another wild tale
Filled with laughs, twists, fun
It All Started with a Baby in a Manger
While I always enjoy Donna Andrews' books, it has been a few years since one made me truly laugh out loud multiple times while I was reading it. So, I was very happy to discover the Lark! The Herald Angels Sing did just that.
Meg has taken on directing the children's Christmas pageant at Trinity Episcopal this year, and she is finding maintaining some sort of control over the various cast members is a challenge. However, things get very interesting when one of the actors announces that there is a baby in the manger. Since this is rehearsal, there isn't supposed to be a baby there yet.
Things get even more intriguing when Meg finds the note attached to the baby strongly implying that the Meg's brother Rob is the father. This couldn't have come at a worse time since Rob is about to propose to his girlfriend of two years. Who is the mother? Why did she leave the baby in the church? And can Meg figure out who the father really is?
I'm not going to spoiler more of the plot than this, which is really just the first couple of chapters. I'll leave it for you to see just how the plot spins out from here. I will say that this isn't a mystery in the traditional murder and five suspects model, but then again, Meg's adventures often deviate from that formula. There is definitely crime, including a murder, and more than enough plot to keep us engaged for the entire book.
And yes, the usual cast of characters all get their moments to shine. We see more of some than others, but that's not a surprise since this series has a large cast of characters. For example, Rob has pretty much just had a cameo in the last couple of books, so I was surprised to learn he'd been in such a serious relationship for so long. Or maybe there was a brief reference to his love life I'd forgotten about. I do tend to forget details in between books in a series.
Speaking of details, I did find the book lacked some attention to detail. I felt like a couple of plot points about a third of the way into the book came out of nowhere even though Meg acted like she knew what was going on. I didn't go back to see if I had missed anything, but it is quite possible I was distracted and missed a relevant line or two. Meanwhile, a couple of random chapters in the book needed another go by an editor of some kind since several times in these chapters I found typos. Considering I'm the last person to notice them, that means they had to be pretty obvious.
But I'm not holding it against this book in the slightest. Why not? Because I had so much fun reading the story. As I said in the opening, I laughed many times as the book was progressing. Things come together for a fantastic climax that wraps up the story and had me laughing out loud the hardest. Seriously, I was glad I was reading that part of the book in my living room and not in public since I don't think I could have stopped myself from laughing at the antics of Meg and her family and friends.
One thing I've come to realize I love about this series is the larger community that Meg is part of. That was in full force again here.
If you are already a fan of Meg's adventures, Lark! The Herald Angels Sing will completely delight you. Even if you've never met Meg, this book will be a perfect introduction.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Meg Langslow mysteries.