Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Review: Owl Be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #26)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Familiar characters, good mystery
Cons: Familiar characters, similar set up to last entry
The Bottom Line:
An owl conference
Too much snow and a killer
Add up to good book

White Christmas?  Check!  But Will Snow and a Killer Keep Meg from Being Home for Christmas?

It’s finally happened.  Donna Andrews has recycled a bird name for the title of one of the books in her Meg Langslow series.  But considering it took twenty-six books for this to happen and owls were last used twenty books ago, I can’t complain too loudly.  And when you’ve got a title as wonderfully punny as Owl Be Home for Christmas, it’s hard to have any serious complaints at all.

It’s a few days before Christmas and Meg Langslow and much of her family are at the Caerphilly Inn.  Meg’s grandfather is hosting Owl Fest 2019 there, a conference on all things owl.  Unfortunately, the worst winter storm in decades has also decided to visit, trapping the attendees in the hotel and possibly keeping them from going home for Christmas.

As the snow continues to fall, tempers continue to rise.  Owls are not without their controversy, but Dr. Frogmore seems to be at the center of much of the arguments breaking out.  No one much likes him, but for some, the problems with him go much deeper.  However, when Dr. Frogmore drops dead, Meg’s father suspects that it wasn’t natural causes.  Are they trapped at the inn with a killer?  Can Meg figure out what is really happening before the snow ends so the conference attendees fly home?

Despite how I started the review, I don’t have any serious issues with the title.  Unfortunately, the book wasn’t the strongest entry in the series.

This is the second book in a row where Meg is trapped someplace with a mystery unfolding around her.  Now, I know that this is a tried and true trope of the mystery genre.  None less than Agatha Christie used it plenty.  But in both cases, I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic by the time the book was over.

Not to say that I didn’t enjoy things along the way.  It was easy to hate Dr. Frogmore, so it really wasn’t a surprise when he became the victim.  By the time that happens, we already have a couple of viable suspects, and more are soon added to the roster.  They kept me guessing until we reached the end, when Meg figured it out.

While some of the usual roster of characters are out of town for the holiday, we still have an assortment of Meg’s family to add the proceedings.  I enjoyed seeing them as always, although I will admit that I don’t find them quite as funny as I did early on in the series.  Hopefully, we can get some more fun development on them in future books.

That leaves the new characters to provide some humor, and they are up to the task.  I will say the humor in the book suffers a little since some of the issues brought up are serious and are dealt with seriously.  However, there are still some grins and laughs as the story progresses, even if they aren’t quite as plentiful as they are in other books in the series.

And don’t misunderstand.  This is definitely an enjoyable book.  It’s just not at the level of the best books in the series.

So fans of Meg will want to pick up Owl Be Home for Christmas.  They’ll enjoy spending time with the familiar characters.

Missing an adventure?  Here are the rest of the Meg Langslow mysteries in order.

1 comment:

  1. I think I would read this series just for the bird pun titles! I did enjoy this one but you're definitely right about the setup being similar to the previous book. It didn't bother me too much and I'm looking forward to reading earlier books in the series - maybe the first owl book!